Title: The Difference With Keisuke
Summary: "The two of us are twins. Okay, so which one of us is gay?"
Author's Note: If you would like to learn the background of this storyline, please download and read the other stories in this series conveniently provided here. You can also download and read this series in it's entirety from here. Otherwise this piece kind of reads like original fiction... also the links in text are footnotes listed at the bottom of the entry.
To understand Keisuke is both a physical and mental improbability. His own twin brother, Yusuke, who has spent the last sixteen and a half years of life with him still doesn't fully get him.
And sometimes, he quietly admits, he doesn't understand himself either.
The past couple months have been somewhat difficult. He's had to deal with his brother coming out and professing his gay love for a fellow male classmate... he's also had to deal with perverted home tutors who do very ambiguously gay things to their students... it's all very confusing really... as though being sixteen isn't already hard enough.
But the hardest thing he hasn't yet come to terms with, is how he really feels inside about all of the things that have happened. He can't explain why he gets so defensive around Yusuke and his boyfriend, why he says things that are hurtful and mean and not really what he wants to say but does any way... he especially can't explain why he did such shameful things with his tutor... or why he even let them continue to happen after his horrible reaction during the first incident.
It never should have escalated as far as it did, and now it's hard finding reasons why his mother should not re-hire the bastard for this coming semester even though his grades had never looked better. She's really persistent, not a cute quality in a woman he thinks. Nibbling on a piece of toast, he watches his brother uselessly trying to cram more information into his head for an upcoming test before they head out to catch their respective trains to school. This is not what he wants to be thinking about before he has to go out in public.
Yusuke is sprawled over their little kitchen table, his hair an unkempt mess from oversleeping and possible laziness. He has the top couple buttons of his gakuran undone and Keisuke wonders vaguely if other boys, other gay boys, would look at his twin and consider that cute or hot - or any other form of attractive that he shouldn't be so curious about in the first place. Will Iwata see Yusuke's exposed neck like this? Will he have fantasies throughout the school day where he can lean in and kiss it? Will he imagine sucking and licking all the way up along his brother's bobbing adam's apple when he moans disgustingly because it feels so good?
He's not paying attention.
"Hey! Keisuke!" Yusuke is waving a frantic hand in front of his face. The toast is now soggy and tasteless in his mouth.
"If you don't hurry up I'm gonna have to leave without you! We're gonna be late!"
"Yeah, yeah," Keisuke mutters, watching his brother hastily shoving any notes and assignments from the table into his school satchel. He doesn't bother to help him.
As Yusuke rushes to the door to exchange indoor slippers for school shoes, Keisuke finds himself bringing their breakfast plates to the sink. He has to deposit the rest of his uneaten toast in the trash before he grabs his formal jacket from the back of the chair and then follows Yusuke out the front door.
They part ways at the station. They've done this many times before so it doesn't feel weird when someone stares at them; two people with the same face but different uniforms going separate ways in a sea of flesh and clothes. The weird thing now though is watching his brother rush to catch up to another boy in a uniform eerily similar to his. It's Iwata, has to be, Yusuke looks too damn happy for it not to be.
The thought of them together makes Keisuke sick to his stomach and he almost misses the last morning train headed to Toda. He may not be the best student, which is in all actuality why he and Yusuke have to attend different high schools, but damn it he can at least make it to class on time.
People push and shove him as the doors slide shut. The automated female voice politely asks guests to mind their belongs and to please hold on tight, the train will shortly be in motion. He grabs a handle hanging from the ceiling as they begin to slowly pull out of the station. Keisuke has managed a pretty decent view from a nearby window, but the experience is wasted on someone like him. He's met Iwata up close before, doesn't seem like that bad of a guy except for the fact that he's a homo in disguise. Just looking at him you never would have guessed it... Yusuke either, even though he has to admit his brother has always been a little on the shrimpy side... but he doesn't want to focus on stuff like that because it would mean he came up short somewhere too. That's the problem when you share your face with another person, you're constantly comparing yourselves to one another even if you don't mean to.
Maybe that's the problem... if he didn't have his school bag in his left hand he would have the insane urge to rub his eyes raw. He's over thinking this, so much so that it's beginning to interfere with his daily life to the point where he's become extremely self-conscious about himself and the impressions strangers can get just by looking at him - he never used to give a crap about what anyone else thought! But what if they can tell that Yusuke's gay... what if it's just not obvious to him because he holds some kind of potential bias? Would they think him gay too simply by physical association?
That's disgusting and gross and some level of wrong he can't even imagine people thinking about that this early in the morning.
But he's thinking about it.
He's thinking about it a lot. That notion disturbs him nearly as much a the time he heard Yusuke and Iwata through the wall doing perverted things. His mouth is suddenly dry and his heart is beating so loudly he's almost afraid the people standing around him can hear it too. But that's impossible, the logical part of him knows this... he has to be sick, this has to be some kind of sickness.
Before the train even begins announcing their timely arrival at the Toda-Koen station, Keisuke has already decided that his first hour class time will be spent in the nurse's office making sure he doesn't have some kind of delirium-inducing fever.
He spends more than just one hour feigning illness in the nurse's office. He almost feels guilty but since he doesn't do it very often Keisuke can kinda sorta let today slide. There are worse kids out there than him, kids who spend entire weeks in the infirmary with some stupid fake ailment they made up on the commute to school.
He stepped off the train a couple minutes ago and briefly contemplated waiting for Yusuke, but decided against it with his better judgment because he didn't want to see him and Iwata being all lovey-dovey in public. Truthfully he knows his brother would never openly flaunt his homosexuality, Japan is getting more modern day by day but traditional views are traditional views. Same sex partnerships are not the most publicly tolerated things. Even knowing this and that he still pretends that that's exactly how they'd be if he saw the two of them step off the train together... hand in hand... eyes all bright and steps upbeat.
He openly baulks at the very idea of it. Walking home solo has never been an easier choice to make.
It's just a shame when his plan backfires and there are two sets of student shoes at the stoop of the front door. His house slippers are also missing... the thought unsettles him more than it upsets him. He begins removing his shoes and calls out the standard greeting, "I'm home."
Two voices answer him back from somewhere in the living room, "welcome home!"
Keisuke grimaces before begrudgingly grabbing his school bag and trudging deeper into the house. Over the back of the sofa he can see the top of Yusuke's head scooting away from the darker haired person who is Iwata. He's being polite for my sake Keisuke thinks, only slightly grateful for small miracles.
"Mom not home?" he asks walking behind the sofa and making an effort not to pay a lot of attention to the two boys who are still too suspiciously close in his opinion.
Yusuke pops up on the other side of the couch and shakes his head. "No she left a note on the kitchen table. Said she wasn't gonna be back until later tonight... we uhm... we have to fend for ourselves if we want dinner." Keisuke nods in acknowledgment but doesn't say anything else. He beelines directly for his room and shuts the door quietly.
Yusuke finds himself gnawing on his lower lip when Iwata's warm hand makes contact with his lower back.
"Don't worry about him so much," the other tries to be comforting, "you know how he is after all... probably didn't expect to see me here."
Yusuke makes an agreeable noise at the back of his throat but he can't help but be worried about his sibling. It's like telling rain not to be wet; it's stupidly impossible. But he lets Iwata rub slow circles onto his skin anyway before they finally get up to start cooking.
Thirty minutes and two hesitant knocks later, Keisuke finds himself at the kitchen table with Yusuke and Iwata sitting opposite him with matching plates of pasta and silverware. He has his own in front of him too. It's a very simple dish and his starving stomach isn't about to start discriminating... but his mind is having second thoughts.
"Who made this?" he asks, it comes out sounding more offended rather than grateful.
"Not that it matters," Iwata says in between bites, "but both of us did."
Yusuke giggles - HE GIGGLES - "well Iwata-kun, you technically prepared most of it, I just got you the ingredients and did whatever you told me to..."
Keisuke's face scrunches up unpleasantly and the other two boys stop eating momentarily expecting him to make some kind of horrible comment that homos cooking gourmet-like food can lead to the gay virus spreading via ingestion.
"I don't really like pasta," he says instead. Only Yusuke knows he's a liar. But now he's exempt from having to enjoy the meal in front of the audience who so thoughtfully prepared it for him. They could have just as easily gone out and gotten food on their own without so much as a word to him. He knows that but he still can't help acting like an asshole any way. To try and take the edge off a little, he formally appreciates the food before finally digging in.
He only feels guilty when his tongue quickly informs him that the taste is actually quite delicious. Now he really is a jerk.
After they finish eating, Keisuke purposely taking the longest so he could avoid any more awkward bits of conversation, he returns just a little more humbled to the confines of his room.
If their mother isn't going to be home until later... he double checks the clock on the wall. It's already five forty and some simple math tells him that Iwata will probably be in his presence for at least another two hours. The thought is irritating to say the least because he really didn't plan on doing any homework tonight. Keisuke knows he'd much rather zone out in front of the tv flipping through public television and lame game shows where contestants physically abuse themselves for the chance at fabulous prices he's never seen anybody win, but they're in the living room. He can hear them laughing about something over the sound of commercials. Probably aren't even watching the damn thing...
Any normal person might have just accepted this whole situation for what it was with a bit more grace; said thank you for the meal instead of skulking off without so much as a word, at least have tried to put some of this gay nonsense behind them and attempt to respect their family member and their lifestyle choices, maybe even suck it up and just go out there to watch television together because sitting around sulking about it isn't getting Keisuke anywhere.
It just makes him feel worse.
He dumps himself down onto his computer chair, the cheap metal and fabric whining as he teeters it too far back for its own good. Why can't he at least try to be a nice sensible person? It wasn't like he was actually trying to be mean about anything, he loves his brother as much as he loves himself... and that's an awful lot coming from someone not so emotional as Keisuke.
This whole gay scene is just weird. He constantly feels like he has to act this way or it might just keep getting weirder... this feeling... He rests his hands on his stomach, anything to soothe the discomfort this evenings unpleasantries have stirred up in his gut.
If and when Iwata goes home for the night and it's not too late, he silently promises to go to Yusuke's room and try to talk with him about some of the things he's been suffering through lately. How this horribly mean person that comes out whenever any homosexual overtones are mentioned isn't really him, how he can't help his defensive attitude that just comes out of nowhere even though he doesn't mean any of the hurtful things he says, but most importantly that he still loves Yusuke no matter what he is or even if it doesn't always show. Maybe his brother might even be able to wrangle an apology out of him. Keisuke will be damned if he ever says sorry to anyone not directly blood-related so if anybody has a chance at sincerity of any sort, it's only his immediate family members.
In the meantime, he fires up his laptop and pulls his class notes out from his school bag. May as well attempt to use the rest of the evening wisely and study since he really doesn't want to see that tutor's face again... if ever.
Sometime after seven thirty, maybe a little closer to eight, Keisuke is awoken by a hand cautiously shaking his shoulder. His books are lying open and a few of pages have tell-tale wrinkles probably caused by the weight of his face. He must have dozed off partway between history and English. Keisuke adjusts himself to sit back properly in his seat and rubs none to gently at his groggy eyes. He doesn't seem all that worried, but he knows it's Yusuke instinctively and therefore no real cause for concern. Unless of course his twin came in here specifically to ream him out... which could very well be the case since he was such an asshole earlier. Really, it's not like he shouldn't have it coming.
But Yusuke isn't that sort of individual, he'd rather take it and suck it up and never tell another living person just how much anything ever bothers him. It's called being considerate to a fault. Keisuke knows how easy it is to hurt his sibling; he should be feeling worse than terrible about this whole situation.
"Uh uhm... Keisuke," Yusuke trails off. He's biting his lips and averting his eyes. It looks like he wants to talk about things but doesn't want to be so abrasive as to have this heart to heart backfire in his face. Keisuke watches him struggle for a moment before finally biting the bullet and caving in.
"Wha- wait what?" Yusuke steps back from the desk and nearly trips on a pile of dirty clothes that never made into the hamper.
"Look, I know you didn't come here to yell at me... but it doesn't mean you shouldn't."
"I don't understand," Yusuke says, watching Keisuke direct him to have a seat on the bed. "I didn't come here to yell you at all." He sits down with his hands knitted apprehensively in his lap.
"I know that," Keisuke tries to rephrase it a he changes position on the computer chair, legs now straddled opposite the fabric and metal backing. "I just wanted to apologize anyway... I've been a bit... well I was a real jerk earlier and I didn't mean to be." His body language is really lax and unguarded, maybe he's more tired than he initially thought since he's being so honest about everything now.
"I just- well we had that talk a while back..." Yusuke nods slowly. "You remember, the day I was sick and Iwata came over and you two-" Yusuke's face instantly flushes with shame. Keisuke doesn't finish the remark.
"Anyway, I said I understood... but really, I didn't." Yusuke's face flashes hurt for a second, "I promise you now though I'm going to try." The look fades just as quickly.
Keisuke crosses his arms over the high back of the chair and lowers his head to rest on them. He's tired, not just physically but mentally and on top of all that he just plain feels bad. This is getting to be too much... he needs to stop.
Yusuke undoes his hands and places them on either side of his body as he leans back onto the bed. He sighs quietly not wanting to draw attention.
"You don't have to force yourself... I don't... I don't want to guilt you into feeling bad about anything. The decision I made about being..." he grits the word gay out, "well it has nothing to do with making anyone upset or uncomfortable. I just wante-"
"I know all that already!" Keisuke says louder than he intends to. Yusuke jumps a little and begins to shuffle his feet nervously on top of one another. This has now gone from awkward to unbearable.
"I mean, I know you're not that kind of a person. You would never do anything to intentionally upset anyone. I just, I 'unno I just feel like some kind of a jackass all the time though 'cuz I know what I say really bothers you sometimes. I don't mean to say that kinda stuff, it just... well I don't know it just comes out!"
Yusuke sits up straight and watches his brother ineptly fumble with that admission absently. He doesn't know how to make this any easier for the two of them, so he opts to wait it out.
"I want to be a good brother to you, I want to show you I love and support you no matter what, but I... I have a really hard time wrapping my mind around things you know? Like it doesn't compute or some crap!" He waves his hands around in a frustrated manner before Yusuke gets up and embraces him with the chair wedged in between. Keisuke drops his arms onto the backing and lets his brother hold him.
"I'm sorry I can't be a better brother for you," he mumbles into the fabric of Yusuke's shirt. He feels his brother shake his head just as soon as the words leave his lips.
"No," Yusuke corrects, "you're a great brother. You're still trying for me and that makes all the difference."
Keisuke hugs him back.
It's Friday and the weekend is fast approaching. Just eight hours of school left to get through and then they'll be free to do whatever they please. Tonight their mother will be taking the Shinkansen to visit their Father in Osaka. He's been gone for nearly half a month now working on some company business and both boys can tell the distance is wearing on her so they managed to convince her to plan a trip. This is something she never have the luxury of doing when they were small children. Now however they're older teenagers and can manage on their own for at least two nights, or so she is trusting them to do so.
At the table she is setting out breakfast and packing up the last of the three pre-cooked meals she spent all night making.
"Now I called the hotel and made sure the arrangements are until noon on Sunday. I'll try to be back before five 'o clock but since I have a ticket for the non-express train it may be delayed. Just in case, I made three dinners! The directions for each are on notes- Keisuke are you paying attention?"
"Yuh-huh," her son looks up from picking at his fried egg on toast. He hasn't even touched the two pieces of cooked ham on his plate.
"Well stop playing with your food then and eat! I'm not going to be here for the next few days to make sure you're taking proper care of yourself!"
"Maaaaaaaom I'm sixteen already, jeez..." he gripes but puts down the fork and crams the toast and everything else obediently into his mouth. Yusuke tries not to laugh while sucking out the contents of his soft-boiled egg. Their mother always spoils them like this when she knows she's going to be away. It's really kinda cute actually, Yusuke thinks, because Keisuke is such a mamma's boy but he'll never admit it.
Their mother gives them the last of the details about her trip and makes sure they can recite to her, each individually, the emergency number to the hotel room if anything unexpected should occur. She's nearly obsessive compulsive about this but two and a half days is the longest she's ever spent away from them, school trips not included. Granted this time they have each other but a mother's worry is a mother's worry... trying to express that to her two boys is for the most part futile because they will never understand her maternal anxieties.
"I'm only going to say this one more time. Please, please promise me you'll take care of each other." Her eyes are needy and seeking reassurance, she has her hands clasped tightly underneath her chin as she waits for both boys to assuage her deepest fears.
Yusuke laughs and picks up the plates he and Keisuke have just finished eating off of. "Mom, really, you act like you're going to be gone for weeks and not just a couple days..." he tells her as he sets them in the sink.
"Well days are like years to your poor mother! You want me to worry myself into sickness?! How am I supposed to enjoy this trip if I can't relax for a single second worrying about what's happening to the two of you?"
Keisuke adds his silverware to the growing collection of dishes they'll probably have to clean up after dinner tonight.
"Ma," he tells her with a self-assured smile on his face, "we'll be okay, honest. But right now we have to go or else we're gonna miss our trains."
She nods in understanding but is still a little hesitant to let them pass by her without a second set of hugs before they finally manage to set foot outside the door.
"I believe you," she calls after them and watches as they walk in the direction of the train station and eventually out of her sight.
As soon as they make it out of earshot Yusuke leans in to ask the thing he's been so nervous about asking since their mother made her travel plans official. "Hey uh Keisuke-chan?"
Something about the added suffix tips Keisuke off that this isn't just some mediocre request; Yusuke's pulling out the big guns.
"Yeah?" He tries to appear unconcerned but a handful of possibly related thoughts have also been weighing on his mind too since their mom told them about her upcoming weekend venture. This probably has to do with Iwata.
"Well uh..." he begins with that irritating vocal fidgeting that irks Keisuke to no end, he just wishes he would spit it out already and be done with it, "uhm since uh Mom's not gonna be here and all... I was wondering if uhm would you be okay if I uh h-had uhhh Iwata-kun-" Keisuke interrupts him and forgoes any more jellyfishing.
"Yeah, whatever, I don't care."
Yusuke's face suddenly lights up like it's Christmas and he's so excited he can't contain it. He grabs Keisuke in an awkward sideways hug and thanks him endlessly until they make it to the train station. He mentions that it's always hard to spend time with Iwata without either of their parents suspecting anything strange, but he's so happy that Keisuke can do this one thing for him, he doesn't even know how he's going to return the favor.
Keisuke rolls his eyes like it's some nonchalant thing he was supposed to do in the first place. But even though he said the words so smoothly as if without thought, when he sees his brother finally catch up to Iwata on the opposite end of the station's platform and two faces smile back at him already beaming at the prospects of tonight, he feels his stomach begin to unsettle violently with sick anticipation.
School ended too fast. He's already on the train from Toda heading back to Saitama and this is ridiculous, where the hell did the day go? Keisuke drops his schoolbag by his feet and rubs at his eyes with the other hand not hanging onto the stand rail. He doesn't want to go home now. This staying overnight thing could potentially get dangerous. If they're there, alone, without supervision, what's to say just him being there isn't enough of a deterrent for them to NOT do perverted things?
Keisuke's stomach is starting with that same old disturbing somersault gymnastics routine and he can't tell if it's stress caused by the possibility of it happening or that it's already happened once before. Never mind the fact that he had previously told Yusuke he wouldn't be present that day when his brother brought Iwata home for the first time. He hadn't meant to be sick. It was an honest mistake, on his behalf at least... he most certainly wasn't the one having... having... se- s-seee--xxxx gah the word is so filthy to him even in his MIND! He's sure any onlooker must think he's ill by the looks of the horrible flush burning up all of his exposed skin.
He tries to take deep even breaths, anything to just calm the hell down!
When did it get this bad, where just thinking was powerful enough to make him feel this horrible? He grips the metal railing tighter as they pull into the station.
When he walks off the train, pushing and shoving amongst hundreds of other people who're interested in returning to their homes, he only makes it a safe distance from the boarding platform before stopping. Keisuke took his tan jacket off somewhere after they passed Kita-Urawa but his uniform has always made him look a little older so he's not really worried about somebody approaching him asking if he's lost or needs help. He just looks like any other person on the verge of deciding where they will spend the rest of their weekend in Saitama.
That is until he hears a voice too eerily similar to his own call out and he knows it's Yusuke and why is it when he doesn't want to do something someone makes him do it anyway? He sighs heavily and resigns himself to his fate. Yusuke is already running towards him, Iwata lagging not far behind.
"Aw, Keisuke you didn't have to wait!" he laughs and claps a hand on his shoulder, "I didn't think you were gonna take mom's words seriously or anything haha we've been doing this for the past year now and I think we'll be okay, but thank you for waiting for me and Iwata-kun."
Keisuke grimaces slightly but nods regardless, "well you know how mom gets about stuff like that, I just figured..." he trails off. He's trying not to stare at Iwata. He's trying really hard. Even though he's made a handful of comments here and there that Iwata looks stupid, foolish, uncool and a couple of other unsavory things, he knows deep down inside that it's all a lie. Iwata is actually kind of handsome. He imagines that this is what any normal person would say is really quite attractive. But thinking about other guys looking good? He feels himself blushing and tries to cover it up saying the humidity today is making him too warm.
Yusuke is nothing but happy and all of it synonyms. He links arms with Keisuke, but this act does not look unusual because they share the same face, and tugs him along until they make it out of the station. Iwata hasn't really said much of anything but he doesn't appear to be upset. If he's really put-off by Keisuke, he sure doesn't show it. They walk back towards their home, Yusuke filling in all the awkward parts with bits of necessary conversation. Every pause either Keisuke or Iwata answer him with curt expletives and it's enough to satisfy Yusuke until they make it into the house.
After closing the door, Keisuke is already seeing a problem. There are only two pairs of house slippers by the genkan. Their mother must have packed hers away before she left. This however does not deter Yusuke.
"I think we'll be okay without having to wear slippers in the house. My feet aren't really dirty, are yours?" He looks over at the other boys. His twin shrugs and begins untying the laces of his school shoes before pushing them off to the side. They walk past him having already taken off their sneakers.
"You're pretty daring," he hears Iwata joke with Yusuke over his shoulder, "if your mom knew she'd probably scold you."
"Nah," Yusuke snickers uncharacteristically, "a lot of the time Keisuke doesn't even wear his slippers in the house and she barely notices."
They both laugh.
"I wish my mother was like that."
Keisuke hunches his shoulders together in a protective manner, it's weird hearing people talk about you while you're still present. He gathers up all of his things with the intent to head straight to his room when Yusuke's hand reaches out to snag his elbow.
"You wanna order a pizza tonight? More food for all of us?"
Iwata has already made his way into their living room and is turning on the tv... like he belongs there. Keisuke's brother stares at him looking almost half-expectant, he did act like he was totally cool with this earlier this morning did he not?
"Sure I guess."
"All right!" For a second Keisuke half expects him to kick up his heels or some other retarded nonsense. "I'm gonna go get the phonebook!" He watches Yusuke start off in the direction of the living room, but sees him stop halfway. His twin turns around and comes back looking like he has something he wants to confess.
"Thank you for being so nice to me today. I forgot to tell you last time, when there weren't enough slippers for all of us, I gave Iwata mine and wore your's... I know it's kinda dumb telling you that now, but maybe you were mad about it before..."
Hearing Yusuke say it like that, Keisuke realizes just how petty his personality truly is. He was upset about it. He would have been upset about it if it had happened again... even though Yusuke was right when he told Iwata that he barely wears the stupid things indoors like a proper Japanese young man anyway.
"It's not a big deal," he lies and steps into the entryway. "I wasn't really upset so don't worry about it."
Yusuke says he believes him but his face remains skeptical. He knows at least this much about his brother. "Well I'm gonna go order the pizza then, do you want tomato sauce or mayo sauce?"
"I don't really care," Keisuke answers, truthfully he doesn't plan on eating that much anyhow so his input isn't really vital.
"Okay..." Yusuke backs up a little, "but promise me you're not going to hide out in your room all evening?" Keisuke shoots him this complicated look that says he does whatever he wants and no amount of badgering is going to change that.
"Keisuke-chan..." his one weakness, "I didn't want to force you into agreeing to this but when you keep avoiding it-" he means his relationship with Iwata, "it makes me think you don't approve and well... what we talked about, I... I'm-"
"I'm just going to change all right?" It's an excuse to get away. He doesn't want to be the reason Yusuke cries. "I don't wanna sit around in this smelly old uniform any more than I have to on a weekly basis, so stop worrying about me and just go order the pizza or... something." Yusuke sniffs loudly and confirms Keisuke's suspicion that that's exactly where their conversation had been headed.
"Will you be out later?"
"Yeah," Keisuke gives in and starts walking to his room without looking back.
He does keep his promise. Sort of. Maybe he's twenty minutes late... who cares. He comes out just as the food arrives and sits in the living room in front of the tv on the floor just like how their mom always tells him not to when she's there. But she isn't there so he does it anyway. Iwata and Yusuke are sitting on the couch, touching one another but only in a way that clearly says there really isn't enough room to lounge comfortably with a second body hogging up the other half of the sofa. It looks a lot like how Keisuke shares the same piece of furniture with his brother on Sunday mornings when they're too lazy to get showered or dressed or do much of anything for that matter really.
But they both behave. Keisuke tries to too. He's changed into some sweats and a hoodie, typical Keisuke attire and picks at his food from a napkin on the coffee table. They end up watching some stupid American movie about an old virgin who's having a hard time getting into relationships and consequently not having sex because he's a bit of a nerd. The movie would probably be funnier if it's main message isn't a low-blow kind of reminder that Keisuke's brother has already beaten him to one major first in life. Not that he's jealous or anything but masculine pride is still a form of pride. That topic is to remain off limits.
After it's over, they clean up the living room and put away any leftovers in the fridge. The perk of ordering out is that there aren't any more dishes that need to be added to the small pile already forming in the sink. Both brothers agree that whatever is in there from today can be taken care of at a later time tomorrow.
When everything is completely finished, Keisuke retires back to his room saying he has things he wants to do on the internet; talk to friends, check email, anything as an excuse to not have to play mario kart or some other multi-player video game with his brother and his brother's boyfriend.
It isn't so bad and Keisuke thinks that with time maybe he can become the nice accepting sort of person Yusuke keeps telling Iwata that he knows his brother is capable of being. But working to get to that level is kind of difficult and he isn't really sure if he's actually agreed to stop being so reluctant just yet. This is all very foreign to him and most things that cause discomfort or unease of any sort are typically avoided. Still... he is trying, even if it's only a little. He hopes it shows.
By the time it's eleven o' clock he decides to call it a night, feeling overtired from not sleeping the night before when he was still dreading this whole encounter. He can rest at ease now for the most part. Yusuke has been nothing if not discreet all evening. He doesn't really expect him to try anything later tonight knowing full well that his every action can be heard through the not so thick walls of their home.
Keisuke sheds his hooded sweatshirt and slips out of his sweatpants to reveal a pair of plaid boxers. He leaves both articles of discarded clothing on the floor and meanders over to the hamper in his closet to pull out a worn t-shirt to sleep in. As he works his arms into both sleeves he thinks vaguely about things as they might play out tomorrow morning. He hopes Iwata has the decency to wear proper clothes at the kitchen table and that neither he nor his brother are caught wandering around in any state of undress at any point in time during the night or tomorrow. Yawning he goes back to his computer and closes the lid on his laptop. As he crawls into bed he strains his ears over the quiet hum of the computer fan working to cool down the laptop on his desk. He doesn't really hear them anymore; they've either gone to bed too or are being quiet for his sake in the living room.
Keisuke pulls the covers up under his chin and shuts his eyes. He's asleep within minutes.
And he would have stayed that way too if not more than an hour or so later, he hadn't heard the loud shuffling of two people trying to squeeze into a twin sized bed on the other side of his wall. Keisuke's eyes shoot open in the dark, his mind is wide awake but his body is still too paralyzed to do anything about it. It were as though the usual lightening quick signals from his brain to his limbs were firing but no one was awake enough to interpret the meanings of said messages. His other senses like hearing however remain perfectly intact.
"Can you move over more please?" It's a bit muffled but he can still make most of it out. It really was asking for too much when Keisuke prayed that Iwata would end up sleeping on the couch or the floor like some normal overnight guest. Sharing a bed? He feels his ears burn, literally.
"Yeah, sorry," Iwata mumbles and some other indistinct noises. More shuffling followed by a loud thump against the wall and a low curse. Serves 'em right Keisuke smirks with a sick sense of satisfaction. Then it's quiet all over again. He readjusts his arms to lay outside his comforter and closes his eyes hoping he'll fall back asleep quickly.
No such luck.
So he lays there instead. Ears attune to even the slightest movement on the other side of the wall. Some whispers here and there, Yusuke laughs once or twice but each instance is very short lived.
This night can't get any worse, Keisuke is tried, cranky, disturbed actually if all he can do is agonize internally over all the things he doesn't want to catch himself thinking about.
He's sick in the head. Has to be. What kind of a person listens on intently to make sure their own brother isn't having sex in the room next door to their own? The word voyeur briefly crosses his mind but just as quickly leaves when the shuffling sounds start up again.
"I-Iwata-kun," he hears Yusuke keen, it's a really strange sound, something between a plea and a whine, "we... we can't..."
Some more noises.
Keisuke doesn't even remember sitting up in bed to press his ear against the wall, but he had to have at some point and it proves for better clarity. They're not moving now.
"Yusuke," Iwata doesn't use a suffix.
Keisuke briefly catches himself biting his lip. This is crazy. Then he hears his brother moan. It isn't very loud, but with his whole body stuck to the wall like glue it's the only thing he can focus on in the relative silence of his own room. He feels his gut tighten, that same achey type of feeling he knows he's experienced before with his tutor when the other had tried to do all those nasty perverted things to him.
Exactly the way he'd felt when he let that guy pull his pants down, underwear and all, after losing their little bet... his heart has moved up to claim new residence in his throat and suddenly he finds that he has a hard time swallowing. Thank God his mouth had already run dry by that point or he might have started choking on his own spit.
Whatever it is that Iwata is doing, Yusuke must really like it. More loud moaning now, not as contained as before and some more rustling noises from the sheets. What was going on over there?!
Keisuke's stomach begins to drag that godawful feeling down in between his legs where it starts to pool and grow. And grow. And grow. He's absolutely mortified. What's happening to him?! What's happening to his body?!
Traitor. Dirty rotten bastard traitor!
He jumps back from the wall as if burned, it even feels like it right down to the marrow of his bones. All the nerves in his body are screaming to be heard all at once, a complete information overload, too much to process and what the fuck is wrong with him?!
He buries his head under the pillow and wants nothing more than to scream. How could he? How could Yusuke do this to him?! God damn Iwata, god damn queers! He isn't gay. His twin brother may be but that doesn't have anything to do with him!
Keisuke stuffs more of the pillow down into his ears, anything to block out that horrible sound next door, and tries not to cry. He is not gay.
Iwata doesn't stay over the next night.
If Keisuke can pretend it never happened, then this Saturday evening will feel like any other in his previous life. But it did happen and neither he nor his brother can return to their old lives unscathed by the experience. Keisuke does the adult thing and doesn't try to bring it up. Yusuke is either too embarrassed by it to admit to it or he honestly believes his brother couldn't hear him and Iwata through the wall the night before. Either way everything is anything but normal in Keisuke's mind.
The next evening when their mother returns all invigorated and refreshed from the brief visit with their father, Keisuke is in for yet more bad news.
"So I did a lot of talking with your Dad," she looks pointedly in Keisuke's direction over the kitchen table. She's ordered out Chinese for dinner since she felt lagged enough by her journey to even remotely be in the mood to prepare a proper Japanese meal for dinner.
"Eh?" Keisuke messily utters, food still in the beginning stages of mastication in his mouth. His mother makes a very disapproving look and Yusuke pretends to suck the sauce off his chopsticks while watching the whole scene with much interest.
"We've decided to invest in that tutor again."
Keisuke proceeds to choke on his food.
"You grades had never looked better than at that time," his mother explains in a very logically detached manner, "we both agreed that it was a wise investment and as long as we continue to see improvement your father and I see no reason to stop."
"You can't be serious..." Keisuke quickly deflates in his seat, chopsticks having dropped from his lax hand at the mere mention of the word tutor. His appetite has completely waned.
"Keisuke," his mother politely eats a small cutlet of chicken, pausing to chew and swallow, "your father and I only want what's best for you. Yusuke doesn't struggle as much as you do in school and we only want to give you both a leg up in the future of a competitive job market. You need to have a good education in high school to get into a good college, and a good college degree ensures you have a good chance of getting an even better job."
Keisuke sinks further into his seat faster than any quicksand ever portrayed on tv.
"You understand that this is all for your own good, right?" His mother picks up her rice bowl and begins to eat a small amount before returning her gaze back to her now silent son.
"Right Keisuke?" He doesn't move. He can't think. If his brain weren't doing it automatically for him Keisuke was pretty sure he might not have even been breathing.
This is bad. This is so bad. The last thing he wants is that notorious guy molester back in his life all under the perfect guise of for his own good. Nothing lately has been for his own good. Everything is just really frustrating, really confusing, and quite frankly really fucked up.
Keisuke respectfully thanks his mother for the meal and slithers hastily right back into his room. It's becoming more like a hideout as of late, a fort with a lock that keeps everything he doesn't feel he can deal with out... if only for a short while.
School starts again tomorrow; it's going to be Monday. Exams will begin in another couple weeks; midterms are the halfway point of an academic school year. His own personal hell will probably start arriving on their doorstep by the end of this week. That guy... Keisuke crawls into his bed and wishes with all his might that he'll disappear before it even begins.
"Oh Sensei! I'm so glad you could make it on such short notice!"
Keisuke grinds his face into the desk harder. It's Saturday night and his mother is downstairs greeting that awful teacher impostor at the front door, offering to take his coat, bring him a refreshment and auurgghhh this is just so irritating waiting for the inevitable to happen.
A light rap of knuckles on his bedroom door confirms that this is not a dream and is actually happening to him. Damn it damn it damn it-
"Keisuke-kun, I'm coming in."
He grits his teeth. Damn it damn it damn it! The door creaks open and not long after his old tutor's familiar presence looms to the left of him. All of it seems too intimate for his tastes. He refuses to dislodge his head from its current position sandwiched between his folded arms.
"Oh," Takashi-sensei only sounds vaguely surprised, that monotone humorless voice of his makes everything he says seem sarcastically aloof; Keisuke hates that quality about him too even if it is cool on other people. "I see you left the stool out for me."
It's like he's trying to imply that Keisuke has secretly been looking forward to this reunion. Best not to let those hopes soar. "My mother made me get it for you. She thinks you're useful even though I know better."
Takashi-sensei coughs into his hand, not so much a means to save face but really, probably, to stop himself from laughing. This is serious tutoring after all, need to pretend for the first ten minutes at least that it actually is before attempting to do some other not so serious things. He seats himself next to Keisuke.
"Not that I'm asking for you to give me proper respect or anything, but I did manage to up your grade percentile the last time we met. These sessions can't be all that... useless."
Keisuke finally lifts his head up to meet his tutor's gaze. He looks very much the same since they last met; same dark short choppy hair, same thick framed grandpa glasses, same nerdy wanna be cool fashion sense... he feels the tips of his ears begin to heat up. This is revulsion, nothing more.
Leaning over the opposite side of the desk, away from Takashi-sensei, Keisuke rummages through his school bag. He's going to be in control of all the things that happened tonight. Yusuke gave him a quick pep talk earlier that morning knowing that this man disturbed his twin in a way that no one should have even been able to. He told Keisuke that if after he had clearly expressed his views that this was going to strictly be a student-teacher relationship and those wishes were not respected, that a threat to end this man's employment ought to do the trick. Even if Keisuke has only gone so far as to tell his brother about the uncomfortable staring or unusual clothes request - just the first one mind you, his brother doesn't need to know he borrowed his gakuran without permission to fulfill that second request! And why had he even done that in the first place? - his brother had said that if all those things alone were enough to unnerve Keisuke then it was enough of a reason to fire the man.
And Keisuke agrees. Takashi-sensei watches as he pulls out two texts and one workbook. Opening them to the pages he intends to complete today, he waits for Takashi-sensei to give the go ahead for them to officially begin this session.
"Where're your books?" Keisuke asks in an off-hand manner, typically his tutor always carries something else to work on with him so he can fill his downtime when he's not needed to help. Honestly Keisuke could care less if the man's bored during his tutoring time, but if that guy has nothing to do while he's waiting For Keisuke to finish his homework then that just means there's going to be an awful lot of unnerving staring going on in the meantime.
"I have a paper I'm currently working on... I thought it would be rude to bring my laptop and type while you were trying to study or get your own work done."
That sounds remotely thoughtful, but Keisuke refuses to believe this man has ever done/not done anything for his sake.
"Suit yourself," Keisuke shrugs and starts in on mathematics. Not more than two minutes in and an unwanted hand invades his personal space to brush aside and tuck his hair behind his ear. He immediately stiffens at the contact but doesn't say anything.
"Still not really resisting I see," he hears the other man remark. He sounds almost pleased at that. Keisuke pushes himself away from the desk and spins his chair around to directly face his tutor.
"My mother didn't hire you to molest me," he says rather flatly. Takashi-sensei raises his eyebrows slightly behind thick-framed glasses; it gives him a laughable owlish appearance, but this is no laughing matter.
"I suppose that's true," his tutor recounts after a time, "things of that nature aren't typically included in the job description."
Keisuke balls his fists up and does his best to look as menacing as possible. The other watches the whole thing with mild amusement. "If this is what you want..." he trails off and nods for Keisuke to return to his studies.
The rest of their session continues on uneventfully, Takashi-sensei only leaning over to make suggested corrections here and there on some of the pages Keisuke's already completed. He doesn't move to touch Keisuke again nor say anything that isn't directly related to their subject of current study. It becomes all very impersonal rather quickly and when Takashi-sensei goes back to the kitchen to collect his pay and his coat the whole interaction strikes Keisuke as considerably cold. His mother is absolutely oblivious to the whole situation however and either way it's that fact, her not knowing, that bothers him the most.
In the weeks that follow, every tutoring session proceeds very much like the end of the first one. Sometimes Takashi-sensei asks him questions, but nothing about himself that's truly personal. They're the kinds of things you can ask any stranger and get away with without seeming like you're prying into their affairs. His tutor has even taken to giving him numerous worksheets and standard practice exercises that are expected to be complete before each new session begins. This new teacher-y attitude is oddly unbecoming. If Keisuke could call it creepier he would have, but this was after all the way he wanted things... right?
"Did you complete the drilling exercises I gave you last week?" Takashi-sensei seats himself down on the stool and pulls out a red pen from his shirt pocket. He's dressed rather sharply today for no reason in particular and Keisuke keeps sneaking glances at the others attire; the crisp pressed lines in his dress shirt, the rich black coloring of his dress pants, the way the tie around his neck could have been a noose instead because it looks like it's all done-up too tight.
Keisuke hands over his paperwork and watches idly while the other man methodically checks them one by one. He stops when he notices that Keisuke is staring at him with intent.
"Don't you think you should be using this time to study on your own Keisuke-kun?" The remark is almost biting but two could play at having an attitude.
"I don't really feel like it today," he says pushing himself an arms length away from the desk while still seated in his computer chair. "Besides, it's not like I have any tests coming up till finals."
"That is beside the point," the words are meant to be a reprimand, a teacherly one at that. "You should be using all the time allotted to you wisely to prepare. High school doesn't last forever and if you intend to do as well as your parents hope for, it would be best to study as often as you can."
"Phfft..." Keisuke makes a face and spins around obstinately in the chair, like he cares about any of that. If it hadn't been for his guilt about possibly being a bad son, he never would have let his mother force him into this in the first place. So many other things could have been avoided if that had been the case. He decides to keep going.
"Why're you so dressed up today anyway?"
Takashi-sensei stops grading again and this time sighs in near annoyance. "Not that it's of any particular importance but I had a presentation to do this afternoon. There was a required dress code."
"Figures," Keisuke mutters under his breath, looking everywhere but his tutor.
"Good then if that's the case please return to studying. I'm nearly done with these papers." Keisuke gives the other a sidelong glance and slowly wheels himself obediently back to his desk.
"When did you get to be so up-tight?" Keisuke wonders out loud. He isn't expecting an answer, that isn't how it's supposed to go.
"Look," Takashi-sensei sets all the worksheets and his pen down on the desk, "I'm only doing what you and your parents asked of me. What more do you want?" His eyes meet briefly with the other man's before some kind of shame forces him to look away lest this conversation go in another direction. He never thought he'd see the day that his tutor got angry with him.
But instead of saying anything, and above all else not apologizing, he opens his English dialogues workbook and begins working on a scenario where Susie is talking to Sally about her plans for winter vacation.
I want it to hurry up and be winter already, Keisuke thinks, doing his best to ignore Takashi-sensei and everything else about this moment that makes him feel so uncomfortable.
"Uhh... uhm..." Not again. Keisuke glares at his brother over lunch. It's Saturday again and he's not in the mood for any of Yusuke's usual floundering.
"Get to the point," he stuffs more tonkatsu into his mouth and tries to soothe the oncoming discomfort with the taste of his mother's fine cooking. Why is he such a push-over lately?
"W-well... it's uhhh..." Yusuke bites his lip and fiddles with his chopsticks. Keisuke finds himself drawing swirly patterns in the curry sauce while waiting for some kind of a proper response.
"Lemme guess," Keisuke sets his chopsticks down and folds his hands under his chin neatly. He's trying hard to look like one of those police officers that's playing at the good cop/bad cop routine. This conversation isn't meant to go easy on Yusuke. "This gotta do with Iwata-kun?"
Yusuke sputters loudly at the added suffix. Their mother turns around still in the midst of washing dishes left over from breakfast. "Keisuke, don't tease your brother," she chides, seemingly used to these kinds of conversations between her two sons. If only she knew that this wasn't at all just mere teasing.
"Y-yeah..." Yusuke flushes as red as the tonkatsu sauce and Keisuke tries not to laugh. "I invited Iwata over on Wednesday since we have a half-day and then the rest of the week off because of university placement testing for the upperclassmen."
"Oh yeah," Keisuke looks partially distracted as he speaks, "I forgot your school did that..."
Yusuke simply nods and waits for the chance to elaborate more about this coming Wednesday since he's been so painfully embarrassed about telling his brother until now. Keisuke on the other hand, is busy making silent notes about things he would rather be doing out and away from the house the same Wednesday evening.
"Well I think it's wonderful you're bringing your friend over Yusuke," their mother butts in, having just finished with the dishes and wiping her soapy hands on her apron. "You know Keisuke," she mentions on the side with a certain tone of motherly concern, "I never see you bring any friends over..."
"Bah!" he snaps from the table, "I have friends mom and I'd bring 'em over if I wanted to all right? I just don't. Geez..." Yusuke starts eating again but the look he gives Keisuke says they'll be talking about this again much later when it's just the two of them, no extra pairs of ears in on the conversation.
"Thanks for the meal mom," Keisuke says after depositing his dirty dishes in the sink like it were a bank.
"You know I just finished those," his mother's voice carries a hint of mock irritation in it.
"Yeah, I know," Keisuke replies, beginning to stretch out his arms and upper back as he walks toward the direction of his room, "but I have tutoring in a couple hours and I really need to finish my worksheets."
She lets him go without another word.
"My brother's boyfriend is coming over again on Wednesday."
"And you're telling me this because...?"
Keisuke clicks his mechanical pencil exposing the lead until it almost falls out. It's an extremely annoying habit he's seen the other man do countless times before and upon trying it out for the first time a few weeks back, found that he too enjoyed doing it if for no other reason than to get under other people's skin.
"I 'unno," Keisuke shrugs, using the index finger of his other hand to push the lead back into the pencil so he can begin clicking anew. "Just felt like something I should tell you."
"I see," is the only reply he gets. It isn't the reaction he's looking for, if any. The fact that Takashi-sensei doesn't even seem to care in the least peeves him for some unknown reason.
The fact that it's your dick makes it special. Get it?
That thought rings on endlessly inside his head. It's totally uncalled for and not a memory he wants to be trudging up after all this time... that happened more than four months ago, and no, he still doesn't get it.
Because if it was supposed to mean anything then shouldn't he have gotten more of a reaction just now? Wouldn't Takashi-sensei have been more aggressive during their first re-encounter in so many months? Wouldn't he have forced him to- Keisuke stops that train of thought before it even leaves the station. What the hell?! Why is he trying to bait this man? What is wrong with him, purposely trying to goad him on for no reason other than reassurance that... that... why would he even be doing such a thing in the first place?
It has to be anger at being seen as so insignificant. Keisuke always hated people who looked down on him. It is most certainly not because he actually, not so desperately, misses that sick kind of attention. If he wanted relations of any sort, being a popular enough boy in school - the lazy, uncouth, cool type of kid - he could easily have a girlfriend whenever he pleased. But he doesn't want one. And he doesn't feel the need to be drowned in a sea of shallow people to help him forget his loneliness. Keisuke doesn't need any of that.
But he wants... something; he just doesn't know what.
Takashi-sensei sighs loudly interrupting Keisuke's journey to the center of himself. "I think we're done for today."
Keisuke turns to check the time on his digital clock. They're only twenty minutes into the session.
"You have forty more minutes my parents are paying you for," he says matter of factly, watching as his tutor removes his glasses to rub none too gently at his temples like a headache is freshly brewing. Takashi-sensei stops and turns to stare at Keisuke, about to say something. Keisuke beats him to it.
"I heard the two of them through the wall doing perverted things," he blurts out suddenly, his face not even having enough time to properly color from the mortification of that kind of admission.
Ito Takashi has heard many things in his short adult life, this ranks highly among the things he wished he'd never had the pleasure of hearing. "We are definitely done for today," and immediately begins packing up his things, worn black satchel on the desk in a flash with papers and books being crammed into it at an alarming rate. Keisuke shoots up from the desk and watches the whole scene with a distinct look of indignation written all over his face.
"My parents could fire you for this..."
Takashi-sensei slows down, if only for a second when he turns and looks at Keisuke with the most serious expression he's capable of making.
 are the traditional student uniforms worn by many middle school and high school boys in Japan ↩
 without a reference for location I have decided to make the family residence the city of Saitama, Saitama Prefecture, Japan; it is located in the southeastern part of the prefecture and is considered part of the Greater Tokyo Area ↩
 Keisuke attends school in Toda, Saitama while his brother Yusuke attends school in Shiki, Saitama - their trains go in opposite directions ↩
 in traditional Japanese homes a genkan or a modified stoop is the place where people keep their house slippers, Japan is a relatively clean society and designates specific shoes to be worn indoors and out, even though this is not stressed in the manga I'm using creative license ↩
 otherwise known as Japan's bullet train ↩
 I'm sorry, I really, REALLY like writing words phonetically as I imagine them sounding in real life... I also like using html to format parts of speech to give a better idea of how a word or words are being used to stress a sentence or idea ↩
 is an east Japanese railway station located in Urawa-ku, Saitama, Saitama Prefecture, Japan ↩
 I do not make this up, check the pizza-la website's English menu here, people in Japan eat really weird things ↩
 reference to movie The 40-Year-Old Virgin ↩
 Keisuke's tutor has no official name given in the short two piece series so I have decided to provide a name for him, it's super generic; Ito Takashi, also I'm making their tutoring sessions take place every Saturday night ↩
 tonkatsu simply means breaded deep-fried pork, it is arranged in a few other dishes such as katsu-don and katsu-curry ↩
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