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A(r)mour, Chapter 13

Title: A(r)mour

Warnings: Rated M, contains yaoi and occasional swearing, if you don’t like these things please don’t read.

Summary: Hiroki just keeps getting his heart broken, again and again and again, like a fool who doesn’t know when to quit. Standard romantica, egoist, and terrorist couplings, plus Nowaki/Misaki, Akihiko/Hiroki, Miyagi/Hiroki.

Author's Note: This chapter was quite late, apologies, but I think I have a pretty good excuse! Sorry for leaving it on a cliffhanger. Next chapter is the last one, hopefully out by the year's end but no promises! Honestly this is late because I rewrote some of it and it desperately needs more editing, but I also want this fic over and done with already, bleargh. Hope you like it.


Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12


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Chapter 13
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Hiroki scrambled to regain his composure. “What the hell are you doing here?!” For one horrible moment, he thought maybe something had happened to Nowaki. An accident, or a terrible illness. What other possible reason could this kid have for seeking him out?

The kid in question flailed wildly. “Ah! It’s the Dev- Kamijou-sensei! What- what are you- I’m here to see Usagi-san!”

…Usagi? That old, stupid nickname he hadn’t heard since high school, and only ever from the lips of that damned Takahiro.

Takahashi.

Misaki Takahashi.

Hiroki leaned against the doorframe and started laughing.

“This is a joke, right?” he choked out. “Some cosmic force is making a tragic mockery of my life.”

“Ah… Kamijou-sensei?” Misaki ventured nervously.

He’d barely noticed the last name when Nowaki said it. It was the third most common name in Japan, after all, right up there with Tanaka or Suzuki. ‘Misaki’ stuck out for being more typically a girl’s name, so he’d never once given it any more thought.

Takahiro’s little brother. He was such a fool.

He dragged a hand over his face. “And you’re back to see Akihiko. Things not working out with Nowaki?” Would serve them right.

“Nowa- How do you know about that?!” Misaki stammered.

“Misaki?” Akihiko had come downstairs at the commotion, towel draped across his shoulders, and now stood frozen and wide-eyed in the foyer.

“Ah! Usagi-san…” Misaki pushed past him into the penthouse. “I- I’m sorry! I couldn’t think of where else to go…”

“Are you hurt? Did he hurt you? I’ll kill him.” Akihiko switched from stunned to looming evil in an eye-blink.

“No! I’m not- I’m sorry. We… we fought, and I had to leave, and I… it was getting late, and I needed somewhere to go, and I’m sorry, I didn’t want to be a burden but-”

“Shhhh, calm down,” Akihiko consoled him, catching Misaki’s face in his hands, thumbs caressing his cheeks. “You’re not a burden. I’m glad you’re here instead of out on the streets this late at night. Come here, sit down.”

Hiroki watched them with hooded eyes. Watched Akihiko’s gentle attendance, careful touches, and apparent willingness to completely gloss over his former roommate’s transgressions. Despite the fact that merely weeks ago Aikawa had been whispering to Hiroki about writer’s block and silent tragedy. Despite the memory of his friend haunting his office couch, asking how someone could fall out of love.

That sort of self-sacrificing devotion he’d seen only once before. He’d seen it in years of silent pining. In his best friend asking after Takahiro’s crushes and then girlfriend and then fiancée, offering congratulations on every milestone of their relationship even as it tore his heart apart.

Hiroki quietly slipped on his jacket and stepped out the door.

The gentle click of it shutting behind him muted their voices to an indecipherable murmur. Hiroki walked away, pressing the call button for the elevator with a half-smile lingering painfully on his lips.

That, it appeared, was the end of that.

……………….

It seemed as though Hiroki blinked and found himself at the University. His feet had operated on automatic, dragging him along the familiar path while his brain turned the last twist in the tragicomedy of his love over and over. Large swathes of the building sat dark and quiet. The computer labs and library would still be open, and the science faculty ran evening lectures until late, but the arts wing of Mitsuhashi was nearly completely deserted. His footsteps echoed eerily down the lonely hallway.

He very nearly turned on his heel at the door. Surely coming to the office was a terrible idea. This was a shared space with Miyagi, which hardly helped his mental state currently. But for now it was empty and quiet and filled with books, and he couldn’t think of a better place to go. He would be getting the keys to his new apartment in a matter of days, and could stay in a business hotel or something until then, but just for tonight… he needed somewhere private and familiar. And the office was the last familiar place left.

He let himself in, hand groping for the light switch. Turned on of the coffee maker and let the quiet bubbling of the percolator dampen the stifling silence. He sank into his chair and rested his forehead against the smooth wood of his desk.

He’d known this day was coming from the start. It had always been nothing more than a temporary dream, a wish briefly fulfilled. A trap of his own making. He’d been mentally prepared for the consequences.

But that it was Takahiro’s little brother? That it was the same brat Nowaki had dumped him for?

It was too much to take.

The silence shattered under the jingle of his mobile ringtone. Hiroki didn’t move until it stopped, then sighed and fumbled to retrieve it from his jacket. It was lucky he even had it with him – he’d left the penthouse with nothing more than what had been in reach. His wallet and his phone and not much else.

His brow furrowed when he registered the screen. Sixteen missed calls? Thirteen messages? How out of it had he been walking here? It wasn’t that noisy on the streets that he couldn’t hear it.

Before he could click through, a rapid series of knocks thudded against the door.

Miyagi? But he’d left before Hiroki that day, off to another clandestine meeting with his brat, and he would have just let himself in anyway. It was too late for any students to be coming by, office hours were long over. The janitor, perhaps?

He glanced again at his phone, seized by trepidation.

“…Hiro-san? Are you there?”

Before he could find his voice – or even decide whether to answer – the door slid open, and there he stood.

Nowaki.

It had been over four months since he’d last seen him. Somewhere in the back of his head he’d become transparent, unreal, like a spectre that only haunted his memories. The shock of seeing him in the flesh, looking no different to that day he’d handed over his key… it was like he’d been dreaming, and had suddenly awoken to sharp, hyper-detailed reality.

He struggled to find his voice. “…You… what are you…”

“I’m sorry, Hiro-san,” Nowaki murmured. “I didn’t – I didn’t know where else to go.”

Funny, he’d just heard those words elsewhere. “So you came here?”

Nowaki shrugged and looked away. “I guess… I wanted to see you.” He fidgeted briefly. “You weren’t at the old apartment anymore, and you weren’t answering your phone, so…”

“I moved,” Hiroki snapped. “And that’s too bad, because I don’t want to see you.” He made to shove past. To go where, he didn’t know, just somewhere else.

“Wait, Hiro-san!” Nowaki grabbed his arm, pulling him back into the room.

“Let go of me!” Hiroki wrenched free, stumbling against the couch. “What are you here for, anyway? You had a fight with your precious Misaki and thought you would go see your ex?”

Nowaki went wide-eyed. “How do you know about that?”

He was not so pathetic as to spill his guts to his former boyfriend on this matter. To admit he’d been effectively dumped twice – even if it had never been anything other than a casual fling with Akihiko – because of the same damn Takahashi was a blow his pride would never be able to take. “Lucky guess,” he sneered.

They stood off for half a minute, caught at an awkward impasse – Nowaki blocking the door, and Hiroki unwilling to move any closer.

“…Are you okay, Hiro-san?” Nowaki eventually asked. “You don’t look well.”

He whirled around, making a show of sorting his desk, just for something else to look at. “I’ve been busy, is all.”

“Where did you move to?”

“None of your business!”

His ears caught the faint beep of buttons a moment later. “…Usami-san?”

He spun back around, snatching his phone out of Nowaki’s grasp. “Give me that! What are you, a crazy stalker?” It was open to the messages – several from Nowaki himself apparently, but the top ones were from Akihiko, asking where he’d gone and when he would be home.

Nowaki’s eyes were dark. “Why are you staying with him?”

“Are you jealous?” He asked incredulously. Nowaki avoided his gaze, all but answering the question. “You don’t get to be jealous. You dumped me, remember?”

“I just… I didn’t imagine, is all. That you would… with him. Not so soon, anyway.”

“What, were you hoping I’d remain single forever?” Technically he was single now, but Nowaki didn’t need to know that. “Did you think that you could just come back if things didn’t work out and say you were sorry and I would take you back?”

Nowaki remained silent.

Hiroki froze, staring at him. “…You’re serious.” A laugh bubbled in his throat with the taste of bile. “It must be nice, to think you can just go back when you make a mistake. To change your feelings so easily.” He crossed his arms. “How convenient.”

“I never stopped caring about you, Hiro-san,” Nowaki murmured.

“But you cared about him more.” It was a struggle not to pin all the blame on the Takahashi brat. Hiroki had always resented those exes who raged at the interloper instead of saving their ire for the one who’d betrayed them directly. He was only now discovering how powerful that particular impulse was. He took a deep breath, and forced down the shaking rage crawling up his spine. “All I ever needed was to know that I was your most important person.”

“Hiro-san…”

“No,” Hiroki snapped. “Let’s get one thing straight - I am not your backup lover. I gave you chance after chance after chance – and you threw them all back in my face. No matter how much I loved you, I’m not stupid enough to repeat that mistake. I have my pride.”

His pride was all he had left.

Nowaki looked stricken. “Hiro-san, that wasn’t what I -”

“Hardly anyone ever thinks of it like that, idiot, but that’s what it boils down to if you just had the guts to admit it. Why else would you be here?” He sighed, and ran a hand through his hair. He was tired. He barely had the energy left to be angry anymore. “I don’t get it, anyway. What caused trouble in paradise?”

Staring at his feet, Nowaki confessed, “It’s my fault, really. Tsumori-senpai was messing around, and there have been a lot of emergencies lately, and...” He trailed off helplessly.

Hiroki could guess the rest. Dating a medical intern… it was hard. The lonely nights when Nowaki had to work late, the missed anniversaries and birthdays, the days at a time when they didn’t see each other… the slightest hint of insecurity would make them unbearable. Even now, looking back, he could scarcely believe it had been worth it.

Still… it pissed him off. Some churlish part of him wanted to crow ‘I told you so’, revelled in the knowledge that he’d been taken for granted, but a much larger part of him was indignant that their seven years had been dumped for something that hadn’t even lasted a full six months. “Idiot.” He slapped him on the head with a newspaper.

Nowaki blinked in surprise. “Hiro-san…?”

He scoffed, picking up his jacket and sliding his arms back into the sleeves. “It’s not like you to give up so easily.”

In the following silence, he could almost hear the gears grinding in Nowaki’s head as he processed that. His eyes slowly cleared, followed by the slightest of smiles on his face.

“Thank you Hiro-san. You’re so kind.”

“Get out of here. I’m leaving,” Hiroki huffed in response.

Nowaki shuffled out with a duck of his head. Then he was all but running down the halls. Hiroki could guess where he was going.

Idiot.

Hiroki locked up the office behind him. He’d rethought spending the night there – he’d go find some business hotel to crash in. After all, if Nowaki thought to look for him here…

He just wanted to curl up somewhere alone with an armful of books and lick his wounds in private. Was that too much to ask?

…………………..

It was too much to ask.

“You’re late,” Miyagi greeted with a smile as soon as Hiroki stepped into the office the next morning.

“I know,” he grumbled. “Sorry. Train line troubles.” Having to stop at the department store to pick up a fresh shirt hadn’t helped either.

“Well, your class doesn’t start for another hour so I suppose it’s fine,” Miyagi remarked, his tone unnaturally sunshiny. “Although the strangest thing this morning, when I arrived there was already somewhere here waiting for you.”

Hiroki froze.

It couldn’t have been Nowaki again, not after last night. That only left…

“Usami, wasn’t it?” Miyagi continued airily. “Wanted to know where you were.”

Hiroki’s gaze darted to the door. His hands gripped the back of his chair, caught in the awkward limbo between fight and flight.

It must have shown, as Miyagi added, “Don’t worry, he’s not outside anymore.”

Hiroki blinked. “You chased him off?”

Miyagi stubbed out his cigarette, sending wisps of white smoke curling towards the ceiling. “Considering your lovers keep turning up here whenever things go sour, can I ask what happened?”

“We’re not-” Hiroki cut himself off. “We weren’t like that.”

Not exactly. It had just been a casual thing, after all. ‘Friends with benefits’.

“Really?” Miyagi turned thoughtful, gaze dwelling distantly on the couch. “That’s odd. He seemed almost frantic.”

Akihiko? Frantic? The Professor was exaggerating things as usual. “He’s just an idiot. I sent a message saying I wouldn’t be back last night.” And had turned off his phone right after, admittedly. He palmed the rectangle of plastic in his pocket, but didn’t take it out.

A dying butterfly of hope fluttered feebly in his stomach. He crushed it underfoot, grinding its gossamer wings to dust.

He couldn’t afford to hope. He didn’t dare. Not after being disappointed time and time and time again. Not just by Akihiko. By everyone.

“If you say so. It just wasn’t the impression I got from you, that’s all,” Miyagi remarked.

“It was never mutual. Not in the way it counted.” Hiroki couldn’t stop the bitterness from creeping into his voice. “And it’s not your business anymore anyway, Professor.”

His words lacked the usual sharpness though, and Miyagi must have noticed because instead of retreating he gently pressed, “Maybe not, but a sympathetic ear could help? Keeping everything bottled up isn’t healthy.”

“It’s no big deal,” he insisted. At Miyagi’s look, he bristled, but admitted with forced nonchalance, “If you must know, I got dumped. That’s all.”

Again?” At Hiroki’s glare, Miyagi winced. “Ah, right, that was tactless. But didn’t you just say you weren’t involved?”

“He wasn’t. I, on the other hand, apparently can’t help myself.” Hiroki sank into his chair and set his head in his hands, wishing vainly that he could go somewhere and get drunk instead of dealing with work and Miyagi. Except with his recent track record, that would probably only result in him going home with some seedy stalker type and give him another bag of regrets.

“So what exactly did happen then? Did you fight?” Miyagi asked, setting a cup of hot coffee down in front of him. Hiroki stared at it mistrustfully before eventually accepting it with a nod of thanks.

“No. Nothing like that.”

“Then?”

“Apparently all the men I get involved with have a type,” was Hiroki’s wry response. “And in Akihiko’s and Nowaki’s case, that type is very specific.” At Miyagi’s blank expression, he added, “Akihiko’s ex came over last night. Turns out he and Nowaki had a fight.”

Miyagi’s brow furrowed as he processed that, then his face pinched. “It was-”

“Right.” It wasn’t even the full story, but it was plenty bad enough without dragging Takahiro’s name into it.

“You didn’t know?”

“I should have.” He ran a tired hand across his forehead. “I’m a damn fool.”

“That’s…” It said something profound when a professor of literature was left groping for words. “…unlucky.”

“You don’t even know the worst of it,” Hiroki muttered under his breath.

“So that’s it, then? You’re just giving up? Not even going to tell your friend how you feel?”

“There’s no point, Professor.” His mind’s eye flashed to Akihiko’s concerned face and gentle touch, guiding Misaki Takahashi to the couch like he was handling a delicate jewel. Even if Nowaki got his act together and he and Misaki patched things up, now that Hiroki had seen that look… “I’m not so desperate and clingy that I’m willing to be someone’s second choice.”

“You’re not a second choice.”

For one long moment Hiroki stared, attempting to reconcile that voice with Miyagi’s face. But Miyagi’s lips hadn’t moved, and his expression had shifted to one of sheepish guilt, and Akihiko was rising from behind the couch like some sort of nightmarish, white-haired zombie.

Hiroki spun back to Miyagi, the very image of a cobra about to spit venom. “You-”

“Not actually meddling, technically,” Miyagi protested before he could get the words out. “It was just lucky timing. And I didn't lie! Not once!”

“It's not his fault,” Akihiko said. “I was browsing the shelves and dropped a book there. You arrived while I was fetching it and I simply chose to stay there.”

“Well, in the interest of honesty, I maybe waved him back down,” admitted Miyagi. “But in my defence, who could avoid an opportunity like that?” He pursed his lips. “…Okay maybe it was meddling after all.”

“Hiroki,” Akihiko said, and then he was right there, grasping his wrist, hands like ice and breath warm against his face and too close. “I think we need to talk.”




Next chapter


Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Dec. 17th, 2013 05:30 am (UTC)
AHHHHHH, I love this story so much even though I hated junjou romanatica and only watched the episodes I had to in order to understand who the characters were. I hope you realize you are now the only reason I check in on live journal anymore. So heartbreaking >.
sinnatious
Dec. 17th, 2013 04:46 pm (UTC)
LOL I don't understand why you would read the fic when you didn't like the series but thanks anon! I'm especially happy if you wander back to LJ for lil' ol' me. :D

Edited at 2013-12-25 11:08 am (UTC)
madisuzy
Dec. 18th, 2013 07:23 am (UTC)
I think you just took Junjou Romantica and made it awesome.
sinnatious
Dec. 18th, 2013 10:23 am (UTC)
Isn't that the goal of all fanfiction? :D (Though admittedly some sources have higher levels of base awesome to overcome than others).

Edited at 2013-12-25 11:08 am (UTC)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )