Echizen Ryoma (downtoryoma) wrote in downto2,
Echizen Ryoma

RP Log: Eiji & Ryoma

Date: Backdated to June 9, I think? A day or two after the Akaya/Ryoma log~
Rating: Um... non-graphic talk about sex?
Summary: Ryoma goes to visit Eiji, and asks some very amusing questions. :D; They actually talk quite a bit about life in general~

Ryoma arrived at the top of the stairs, and made his way to the correct door, stopping outside Eiji- and Oishi-sempai's apartment. He sighed, pulling his bag up on his shoulder a little by the strap, and knocked.

He definitely felt better today than he had the other night - Akaya had fixed a lot of that, by pretty much telling him he was acting like an idiot (though not in so many words). It wasn't that Ryoma hadn't known it, but at the time, it really hadn't seemed to matter. Everything had piled up so high that for at least one night, he hadn't given a damn about anything any more. He hated that it had gotten to him like that, but there wasn't much he could do about it now.

Besides, he hadn't seen Eiji-sempai in a while, so in effect this really was just a routine visit. Ryoma was pretty sure he was going to be interrogated (or at least the Eiji-sempai-version of interrogation), but he'd owed it to Eiji-sempai to come, nonetheless.

The sound from the door knocked Eiji out of his trance – for the past half hour, he had been folding two baskets of laundry while stretched out on the floor, leaning against the wall adjacent to the kitchen. He was lucky that he was nearly finished with the last bunch of clothes before Ryoma arrived; there were only a few socks without a proper match lying on the ground beside his right leg – he swore the dryer in the apartment complex ate his socks. “Coming,” Eiji called out, stuffing the remaining socks into the empty basket, pushing it against the wall and out of the way. Surprisingly enough, Ryoma was a little earlier than Eiji was expecting – strange, for his kouhai.

With a slight bounce in his step, Eiji moved to the front door, unlocking it, and opening it to greet Ryoma. “Hi, Ochibi,” the redhead opened the door wide, stepping to the side, and waited for Ryoma to enter before closing the door and locking it once again. “Oishi’s just in the other room, studying, so we pretty much have the place to ourselves.” Smiling, Eiji poked Ryoma in the side.

Ryoma nodded as he stepped inside, bending to take off his shoes - though before he could get very far, Eiji-sempai poked him in the side. He jerked, keeping a very undignified squeak just barely behind closed lips, and eyed his sempai. "Hey, don't do that," he said, though the comment wasn't meant to be mean. Eiji-sempai always had had a way of tickling him without meaning to tickle him.

He was still kind of glad to be here, though. Just seeing Eiji-sempai reminded him of how much had changed since graduation - it was so different, not seeing his sempai every day anymore. He wasn't sure he liked it - but there wasn't much he could do, so there wasn't any use in thinking too hard about it. He set his tennis bag down just inside the door, and blinked up at the redhead from beneath the bill of his (new) cap. "You got anything to eat?"

If there had been any doubt in Eiji’s mind that the little things about his friends had changed since he graduated, that would have just proved him wrong. “Of course we have stuff to eat,” Eiji laughed, moving to the kitchen counter to grab a Tupperware container that held the cookies he baked just last night – between him and Oishi, the batches of cookies never really did last for that long. “Just sit down and I’ll bring you something, okay?”

Humming to himself, Eiji set a few cookies on a plate and rummaged in the refrigerator, grabbing the two cans of Ponta he had picked up a few days ago in case of Ryoma coming to visit any time in the near future – it was sure a good thing he thought ahead. “I picked this up for you when I was at the store,” plopping down on the couch, Eiji curled his legs under him and set the plate of cookies on the table. “I was hoping you’d come see your Eiji-senpai sometime soon.”

Ryoma blinked as Eiji-sempai sat down with a plate of cookies, handing him a Ponta. "Oh," he said after a minute, cracking open the can and taking a long sip before reaching over to grab a cookie, chewing on it slowly. "Thanks."

It really had been far too long since he'd last seen Eiji-sempai - but he'd been busy at work last week, and if he wasn't at work he was practicing or doing homework. But somehow Ryoma just hadn't been able to turn down Eiji-sempai this time - he knew the other was worried about him, and even if he could take care of himself just fine, he doubted Eiji-sempai would agree. That was just the way sempai were, or something.

"I talked to Akaya," he said, after finishing the first cookie and moving on to a second. He wasn't sure, but it was likely something his sempai had been planning to ask about, considering.

Picking a cookie for himself, Eiji bit into it and chewed for a moment, nodding along with Ryoma’s words. He really had been worried about his kouhai after the events earlier that week – after Eiji had signed off his journal that night, he realized that he had made himself feel ill with worry, and the uneasy feeling hadn’t disappeared until Ryoma responded once again to his comment the night before, saying that he would come over. To say Eiji had been relieved was putting it very lightly.

“I’m glad to hear that,” Eiji leaned forward to take his own can of Ponta, opening it, before taking a small sip and holding it in his lap. “Did he tell you pretty much everything I said? I don’t think he would’ve been very happy…” If he had been Akaya, Eiji probably wouldn’t have reacted very well – and probably would’ve been disappointed in his captain, too. However, he could at least see Yukimura’s side of things, and understand why he said what he did… even though that still didn’t make it right. Ryoma may be an arrogant brat, at the worst of times, but he wasn’t a bad kid.

Ryoma couldn't help the ghost of a smirk that crossed his lips as he chewed his second cookie. "Well, he used fewer words," he said with a shrug - though he supposed both Akaya and Eiji-sempai had been trying to get the same point across. It hadn't been like Ryoma hadn't known it already - and he wasn't one for needing reassurance - but it had still been good to hear it, in the end.

Ryoma shrugged again, sitting back against the couch and taking another, longer drink. "It was just one more thing I didn't need, s'all." It was a bit of a lame explanation, but it was really all he had. Even he couldn't count the number of things that seemed to have piled up - but they were there nonetheless.

He was silent a moment more, still mulling over his conversation of sorts with Akaya, before glancing sideways at Eiji-sempai, who was working on his own cookie. Well, he wouldn't get answers if he didn't ask questions, he supposed. And even if he was going to see Shiraishi-sempai soon, he wasn't sure he was the one to ask. "Ne, Eiji-sempai, you've had sex, right?"

Pausing in mid-bite, Eiji paused and blinked at Ryoma – this wasn’t… quite the conversation he was expecting. “Yeah… I have had sex…” No, not at all. “Why do you want to know, Ochibi?” This felt sort of awkward; like talking to a younger sibling about sex – and while Ryoma wasn’t technically that much younger… well, it was just weird. It was Ryoma asking him about sex – it was possible that he was just curious, but Eiji was getting the feeling that Ryoma had a few… questions.

Ryoma shrugged, glancing at the Ponta can in his left hand. Why did he want to know? Well, really, he was pretty sure he knew the basics (how could you not?) but still - "All my dad's magazines are straight," he said, by way of explanation. Of course he'd looked at them (his father didn't exactly go to very great lengths to hide them, sometimes, and Ryoma knew all his hiding spots besides), but... well. "I dunno. S'it still as nice if you're a guy, an' not a girl? I figure it must be or no one'd do it, but still..." He took another drink - not embarrassed, really, but this was still a little strange. Nonetheless, he'd somehow rather ask Eiji-sempai than Akaya. The former wouldn't snerk at him, for one.

Well, maybe this wouldn’t be as bad as he was expecting – Ryoma was just genuinely curious. Placing his can of Ponta back on the table, Eiji finished off his cookie and dusted off his hands before turning back to Ryoma. “It does – sex is sex. It… hm.” How should he go about explaining to Ryoma without feeling like he was explaining his own personal sexual experiences? “If you’re on the receiving end… heh, this feels kinda awkward, so I’m sorry if this sounds funny.”

Before his legs fell asleep, Eiji stretched them out before crossing them, turning on the couch to face Ryoma. “It is still as nice, yeah – though… it can be… painful if it’s not done properly.” Tugging on a flipped end of his hair absently, Eiji gnawed on the inside of his cheek. “And it’s a little different, too.”

"Hm," Ryoma hummed thoughtfully. "Yeah, I think Shiraishi-sempai said something about that. Maybe." Probably during one of his many tirades - he was always going on about safe sex or something, at least, and not hurting one's partner, though somehow Ryoma got the feeling that if he and Akaya did end up doing anything, he wasn't going to have to be the one to worry about hurting his partner. Though he also got the feeling that Akaya wasn't exactly inexperienced...

Ryoma took another sip; "Well I figured it wasn't quite the same, or I'd be a girl." He hunched over now, thinking again. So that got the physical stuff out of the way - or the basics, at least. So it felt nice, when done right, and it was different than his dad's porn. He supposed he'd expected as much - he might not know much about it, but he certainly wasn't stupid.

So now on to the more difficult part. "So... Does it, like, commit you or anything?" Ryoma was pretty sure Eiji-sempai was going to say it depended on the people, but maybe he had more insight. "I mean, s'it supposed to be special or something?" All his dad's magazines seemed to make a big deal out of it. Especially losing your virginity. All his friends, on the other hand, didn't. Ryoma was kind of stuck in the middle.

Just as Ryoma expected, Eiji first gave the obvious answer. “It… can commit you, yes, but yet, for some people, it doesn’t, too.” After that, the redhead paused, trying to think of a way to word this that hopefully wouldn’t confuse Ryoma too much. “As I’m sure you know, people have casual sex – where they’ll meet a random person at a random place, and decide that they both want it. That… usually wouldn’t bring a commitment – a one time thing that would literally be just for the pleasure and not for… the relationship.”

Before continuing, Eiji thought for a moment about Ryoma’s relationship with Akaya – to him, it didn’t seem like something too serious; more for the fun of dating, and such… like Ryoma was under the impression relationships were supposed to be about. “In the case of… my relationship… yeah, it does hold a certain amount of commitment – not the type of commitment where I’m forever attached, but for the time that the relationship is spanning over. In the case of yours and Akaya-kun’s relationship…” Eiji chose that moment to take another sip of his Ponta. “It’d only commit you if you wanted to be committed, really. From what I can see of your relationship, it’s just something fun, right?”

Ryoma nodded as Eiji-sempai went on - yeah, he'd figured it depended on the relationship, but it was better to hear that he'd actually been right rather than just assuming. Since apparently just assuming things got people on your case about not taking care of their friends.

But speaking of... His and Akaya's relationship? Well, yeah, it was mostly for fun, or whatever - he had to admit, he liked dating Akaya, and certainly the only bad thing that had ever come of it had been this whole Yukimura mess. He didn't want to mess everything up by doing - or not doing, as it were - something he should be, though he'd always been pretty sure Akaya would outright tell him if there was a problem.

"Yeah, for the most part," he replied, grabbing another cookie. "I mean, s'not like I don't like it. Didn't think it'd... commit us or anything." Not with the way he was pretty sure Akaya saw things, anyway. "Just... hm." He paused, something still eating at the back of his mind. "Bein' a virgin's not... important to most people, right?"

Eiji grabbed another cookie for himself, as well, biting into it and chewing thoughtfully. “Again, I think it’s all a matter of opinion.” In Eiji’s case, he didn’t see why it should be overly important – if someone has had sex, then someone has had sex. If someone hasn’t had sex, then someone hasn’t had sex. It wasn’t something that other people should be concerning themselves about, anyway – at least, when it came to someone else’s relationship. “It’s not bad to not be a virgin, but yet it’s not bad to be a virgin, too. It goes both ways, you know?” Some of the questions were difficult to answer – Eiji just hoped he was at least being a little helpful.

"Mm," Ryoma hummed, watching Eiji-sempai a moment. "'Kay." He finished his Ponta in one swig and set it on the table, grabbing one last cookie and taking a bite, sitting back against the couch and mulling that over. So it didn't matter, for the most part? Then okay. "Guess it doesn't sound so complicated, then," he said finally. Maybe that did make things easier.

He sighed, swinging feet that didn't quite touch the ground. "Didn't mean to blow you off earlier this week, really."

Shifting closer to Ryoma on the couch, Eiji threw an arm around his kouhai’s shoulders, squeezing him lightly. “I don’t mind, Ochibi – I only wanted to help.” A long, thin finger poked Ryoma in the side again, playfully. “Besides, I knew you weren’t doing too well, and I don’t blame you; some pretty nasty things were said.” After reading the comments between Ryoma and Yukimura, Eiji had been really angry – it was one thing for Yukimura not to like Ryoma (which he could understand, if he looked at it as if he was someone who hadn’t known Ryoma for four years), but to declare that he wasn’t suitable for Kirihara, or that Kirihara could do better… that was harsh. “And… well, it seems to me that there have been a build up of things happening, lately – you haven’t been quite yourself lately, and…” The redhead gnawed his lip for a moment. “Does a little bit of it have to do with Dan-chan?”

"Well it's -" Wait. Ryoma stopped, staring at Eiji-sempai. What? That tone had sounded almost too knowing for his own comfort. But Taki-sempai had said he wouldn't tell - Ryoma opened his mouth, then stopped just as he was going to protest, realizing that maybe Taki-sempai hadn't said anything. He wasn't about to incriminate himself through stupidity. He closed his mouth again, gaze growing softer until it was merely wary. "What d'you mean?" Better to play dumb - maybe Eiji-sempai was completely off the mark. He hoped so. "I thought he was doin' better."

Inwardly, Eiji laughed to himself – it wasn’t everyday that one of your favorite kouhai looked, seemed, and acted flustered. Maybe there was a little more to Ryoma’s friendship with Dan than what was visible. “No, I know he is, Ochibi – what I mean is that you definitely didn’t seem like you were okay with what all had happened. We all weren’t, but… you and Sen-chan especially, you know?” Eiji slipped his arm off Ryoma’s shoulders, bringing his knees up to his chest as he regarded the younger boy fondly. “You just seemed… well, I don’t think distressed is the right word to use, but do you sort of get what I’m talking about?” Though, from what Eiji had seen, Ryoma had seemed almost distressed, really.

... Oh, it was just that? Well, Ryoma thought, bitterness creeping in now, that was pretty simple, really. "It was just stupid," he said shortly, tugging his hat down a little further as he made a face. "I just - when Akutsu beat me up, Dan came over. An' he was - I mean, he was crying an' everything, an'... well, I figured, fuck it. Dan didn't need someone else tellin' him not to be with Akutsu." Ryoma had decided that if Dan was happier with Akutsu, then it didn't matter whether he approved or not. He had to support Dan's decision because really, Dan would do the same thing for him. He couldn't let whatever the hell he felt get in the way. That would have been unfair.

"So I said he should do what he wanted, an' it wasn't a big deal about my face or anything. And then Akutsu goes and fucking dumps him over... whatever the hell. I don't know why. But it was stupid," he finished, face still twisted into a mask of unhappiness, somewhere between anger and pouting. He took a breath, realizing... Damn. He wasn't sure if he'd meant to say that much, but... well, whatever. It was Eiji-sempai. It was okay, right?

Listening to Ryoma speak, something just clicked in Eiji’s mind; there was something about the way his kouhai spoke almost bitterly toward Akutsu, and the look he had on his face while talking – there was something more to his feelings. “It was stupid, I agree…” Eiji swung his arm around Ryoma once again, drawing the younger boy close. “Dan-chan didn’t deserve that – I didn’t think his relationship with Akutsu was the right thing for him, but it made him happy, and that’s what mattered.” Eiji had talked to Sengoku a little bit about what happened with Dan and Akutsu, and the redhead thought that Sengoku had probably been the angriest of them all – but, now from the sounds of things, Ryoma had been the most worried.

“Mm… Ochibi, I want to ask you a question,” the redhead began after a moment of silence – he tightened his arm a bit. “Don’t get angry with me if I’m wrong, okay? I’m really just curious because you… I don’t know; you just seem like it.” Bowing his head down slightly toward Ryoma, Eiji continued in a low voice, “Do you… like Dan-chan? I mean… in that kind of way?”

Ryoma glanced over at his sempai suspiciously when he slung an arm around him again - almost like he was about to say something he knew Ryoma wouldn't like. And sure enough, Ryoma felt the blood drain from his face when Eiji-sempai finally asked the question he'd thought he was safe from by now.

He opened his mouth immediately to protest - but nothing came out. For once in his life, he really, really didn't know what the hell to say. He could deny it, sure - he didn't like lying to Eiji-sempai, but he'd do it if he had to. He could say yes, true, but then what? He didn't know if he really wanted to... deal with that just yet. Having Taki-sempai know was bad enough; maybe he didn't actively bug Ryoma about it, but he knew, and Echizen Ryoma did not like having people know things he'd rather they didn't.

But he didn't want to deny it, and he didn't want to confirm it. So then what? He realized he'd been staring at Eiji-sempai for at least thirty seconds. He needed to say something. Shit. He grabbed his Ponta can to take another drink - and shit - it was empty; he made a face. "How would I seem like that?"

To Eiji, Ryoma’s silence was answer enough. It had been something the redhead had been suspicious for a while; while watching the two interact, it had become very clear that Ryoma treated Dan differently than he did everyone else. Rather than being his typical cocky self, the younger boy actually acted as though he was Dan’s friend – like he enjoyed being in Dan’s company. It was similar to the way Ryoma treated Eiji, or Momo (senpai that Eiji knew Ryoma really considered his friends), but yet so different at the same time.

Ignoring Ryoma’s question, Eiji just remained silent for another long moment, his head still bowed toward his kouhai, as he kept his arm swung around Ryoma’s shoulders. Should he answer Ryoma’s question – or, was it better to just leave it be? Eiji decided to just go with his gut instinct. “It’s hard to explain, Ochibi – it’s very easy to see that you two are very good friends, but I don’t think anybody would really realize that there’s more to this than what appears to be,” the redhead paused for a moment, gathering his thoughts, before continuing. “It may be a little more obvious to me because I feel as though I know you well, but you just… you treat him differently than everyone else around you – and you come off as being very protective of him.”

He was probably doing a lousy job of explaining himself, but he just couldn’t seem to put it properly into words. “And… well, if I wasn’t sure before, then I’m really sure now – your silence was a good enough answer for me.” Drawing away his arm, Eiji picked up his own Ponta can, taking a slow sip before placing the empty container back down on the table. “I’m not going to make fun of you, or anything, Ochibi – I can really understand that feeling.”

Ryoma felt a bit like he was on a roller coaster. Having Eiji-sempai figure something like that out so easily - and having him say it was obvious that he treated Dan differently - made his stomach drop. Taki-sempai had figured it out because he was acting protective - but Dan needed protecting, what else was Ryoma supposed to do? But the addendum that maybe no one else would notice eased the feeling a little. He wasn't sure what he was supposed to say; Ryoma put the useless, empty Ponta can down on the table, glancing away from Eiji and frowning. Yeah, he knew his sempai wouldn't make fun of him - but he hadn't wanted his sempai to know in the first place. He didn't want anyone to know something like this.


"Well he doesn't matter, anyway," Ryoma said flatly after a moment, eyes still focused to the other side of the room. He hated backing down like this, but he couldn't bring himself to do otherwise at the moment. "Not gonna do that." What exactly "that" was, wasn't exactly clear. But it definitely included (and wasn't limited to) telling Dan what he felt. Or letting anyone else tell him, for that matter.

Raising an eyebrow, Eiji regarded his kouhai seriously for a moment, absently picking up the nearly empty Ponta can, and taking one last sip before standing and taking the two cans to the recycling bin beside the stove. "What do you mean, 'he doesn't matter, anyway', Ochibi?" Frowning, Eiji kept his eyes trained on Ryoma from the kitchen, leaning on the small island that separated the kitchen from the rest of the large area. The redhead assumed that Ryoma didn't want to tell Dan how he felt (which wasn't particularly surprising considering the younger boy was still technically dating Kirihara), but did that equal 'he doesn't matter?' "You don't have to tell him, you know – and if you're worrying that I'm going to, you don't have to… trust me when I say that, okay?"

Ryoma blinked - that hadn't come out quite right. He hadn't meant for it to sound so.... ugh. "No - no, I mean.... shit," he said quickly, shaking his head. "I didn't mean it like that. I mean - more like he doesn't count. M'not gonna tell him. Ever. He's off-limits." He wasn't sure that had come out any better, and he scowled, ducking his head and pulling his cap down a little more. This was so damn confusing.

He liked Dan - liked him so much it was kind of frightening, in a way that he knew was never really going to go away. But he also knew that Dan probably wouldn't feel the same way - he was in love with Akutsu, still, and they'd just broken up. Ryoma didn't even know if it was for good - that damned Akutsu was unpredictable like that. And Ryoma couldn't support Dan through this, if it was for good, only to turn around and confess to the other boy. No. That was stupid. That was unfair.

Unfair to everyone. Because, shit, he was starting to really like Akaya. Their conversation - well, more like confrontation - last night had shown that more than clearly. Ryoma didn't want to lose what he had with Akaya, even if he knew it wasn't going to last. He couldn't throw it away - he couldn't, not when he felt like this about it.

Shit. How could he feel so damn strongly about two people? It wasn't supposed to work like this. It wasn't supposed to be so damn complicated.

"I know you wouldn't tell," he admitted, quietly, after a moment, not sure even whether Eiji-sempai'd be able to hear him from the kitchen. "But I can't, either. So it's not important, then."

Crossing his arms, Eiji leaned his weight down on the counter, keeping his gaze trained on Ryoma. Eiji didn’t really think that the younger boy had meant it like that at all, but he needed to confirm that for himself before he would feel comfortable continuing the conversation. There were a few reasons as to why Ryoma felt like he wouldn’t be able to tell Dan his feelings – again, there was Akaya to worry about, but… there had to be something more to it. Dan had been going through a difficult time, it wouldn’t be the sensible thing to suddenly pour another worry onto the boy’s shoulders, even if it was something that wouldn’t be worried about at all.

Thinking about it, it did make sense that Ryoma apparently couldn’t tell, and a lot of sense at that. Dan had just broken up with his long term boyfriend, and despite how cruel Eiji had seen Akutsu treat Dan, he had always seemed happy with his decision – sometimes, you couldn’t explain love, but in this case, Eiji was sure there had been some reason why Dan loved Akutsu; one that nobody else would probably have had the pleasure of seeing.

Realizing he had been silent for a minute, Eiji slowly nodded, glancing briefly out of the window – the sun was still shining as if it were two o’clock in the afternoon. “Well… if you don’t think it’s important, then let’s leave it at that, okay?” The redhead turned back toward Ryoma, giving him a small, genuine smile before joining him back on the couch. “However, there is one more thing…” Eiji wasn’t quite sure how to word this – simply, he had been worried about Ryoma lately. With the sudden notion of picking up insane hours at the café, the tournament where Yukimura had been rushed to the hospital, Kirihara, Dan… he thought that Ryoma would’ve reached some sort of breaking point by now, with such a high buildup of stress. Then, there were the regulars graduating from Seigaku, leaving Kirihara and Kaidou in charge of the club… and Eiji also knew that Ryoma took that harder than he would’ve liked to let on.

In a way, the redhead felt as though he was analyzing Ryoma, figuring out what the boy was feeling with little to no helpful words, but he figured… “Well… how have you been, Ochibi? I mean, I’m sure you’ve been able to tell that I’ve been worried about you for a while – I can’t look after my kouhai as well as I could before, being out of school and all.” If there was one thing Eiji could say that sucked about graduating, it was leaving behind his younger friends and kouhai – and that thought had been gnawing on him for quite some time.

Ryoma felt a small wave of pure relief - and thanks - when Eiji-sempai said, simply, that they'd drop it. He could never tell which things the redhead was going to latch onto and bother him about, and which he wasn't. But he was very, very glad that this was one case where he'd decided to drop it. He knew that Eiji-sempai really was looking out for him - he was just glad that in this case, both of their definitions of "looking out for him" happened to coincide.

But speaking of... "How've I been?" he echoed, hollowly, finally glancing up at the figure in the kitchen. What did he mean? "Been fine," he said, shrugging. What else was there to be? He went to school, to practice, to work, came home, did homework, went to bed. There wasn't time to do or think about much else - he'd intentionally organized things to be that way, and they were fine like this, weren't they?

He sighed, leaning back into the couch and closing his eyes. "Tired a lot, but s'not like that never happens." He was busy - it made sense that he'd be worn out at the end of every day. "An' you seem to be keeping an eye on everyone okay, still." It wasn't like Eiji-sempai had dropped off the face of the earth after graduation. Though it really just wasn't the same, now. But that was the way things were, and Ryoma had to deal with them. So he would. Somehow. "You don't hafta worry. I c'n take care of myself." Because if he didn't, who would?

Day by day, Eiji felt as though he was picking up on more of Oishi’s traits – one, in particular, was this constant worry about the well-being of his formal teammates; and, more specifically, Ryoma. It wasn’t a matter of Ryoma assuring his senpai that he can take care of himself, or that there wasn’t anything wrong – Eiji knew there was, even if the younger boy wasn’t going to identify it or even acknowledge it’s there. “Mm,” he produced nothing but a hum in the back of his throat, moving back to the living room and folding himself back onto the couch – facing Ryoma once again.

Rolling his shoulders, Eiji snatched a pillow that fell onto the floor when he sat down, and hugged it to his chest, drawing his legs up against his chest as he regarded his kouhai again for another long minute – the younger boy wasn’t looking at him. “I know you can take care of yourself, but that isn’t really what this is about,” the redhead tilted his head slightly, staying quiet for a brief moment before sighing lightly. “Hearing that doesn’t exactly make me worry less, Ochibi.”

Ryoma mirrored Eiji-sempai's sigh - he really was fine - why did people keep thinking he wasn't? "Well, what else'm I supposed to say?" he cast the tiniest of smirks in the other's direction. "F'you're gonna worry no matter what I say, it's a little hard to make you happy, Eiji-sempai." Ryoma knew just how tightly the redhead could cling to something, once he'd gotten an idea in his head.

He shrugged. "Look. Stuff with Akaya got worked out an' I'm doin' fine otherwise. You don't gotta worry so much." He felt the same way he'd felt for as long as he could remember - which must be as fine as it got, he assumed, so there were no grounds for people to worry. He'd be fine. He was always fine. "You have your own stuff to worry about, I bet." He knew Eiji-sempai had a job, and keeping an apartment clean and running couldn't be easy either. Especially if Oishi-sempai was busy studying a lot of the time.

Well, that just confirmed to Eiji that Ryoma really did think everything was fine – so, he decided he was just drop it and leave it at that. At least Ryoma knew that if he needed something, he always had Eiji (and many others who cared about him) to go to; Eiji just hoped that Ryoma would take advantage of that someday. Sometimes, Ryoma could be just as stubborn of a mule as Eiji was – which was probably not a very good thing for themselves and the people around them, but that was a different matter entirely.

“My own stuff to worry about?” With a laugh, Eiji reached over, locking Ryoma in a headlock, and gave him a good, solid noogie. In all honesty, Eiji really wasn’t worried about his own life; he was very happy with how things were. Not only was his relationship just fine, his job was still fun (despite sometimes being stuffy in the pet store), even with more hours, and he was beginning to think on different choices for his eventual entrance into university. Living in the apartment was really nice, too – being domestic with Oishi was possibly one of the best feelings in the world to Eiji. “Nah, things are going juuuuust fine on my end of things, even if it is sometimes busy ‘round here, even with only two people.” With a giggle, Eiji released his kouhai, grinning from ear to ear and nabbed the second to last cookie.

".... Oy! Eiji-sempai!" Ryoma was suddenly caught in a headlock like he was twelve again - he flailed about, trying to bat Eiji's hands away, but the other got in a high-quality noogie before letting him go and grabbing a cookie. Ryoma offered his best pout, but he didn't really mean it. This was part of what he missed about school - and everything, really - last year. This was normal. And now, nothing was quite the same anymore.

"Well I don't need you worryin' about me f'you're not gonna worry about you," he said with a tone of finality, and grabbed the last cookie as repayment for the noogie-torture. "An' I guess it prolly is pretty busy, but that's sure never gonna keep you from botherin' us." And really, he didn't mind it. Eiji-sempai and Oishi-sempai could bother the Seigaku team all they wanted - it would only make things better, not worse. So it was all right with Ryoma, in the end.

If Eiji wasn’t mistaken, it seemed as though Ryoma had been picking up on a select trait of Oishi’s as well. “Of course not… and Ochibi?” Eiji offered a wide grin, biting into the cookie – as well as making a mental note to remember to make another batch of these cookies, as they seemed to be even better than normal. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were starting to pick up on Oishi’s worrying, a bit.” Eiji loved teasing his kouhai, and Eiji couldn’t help but think the reactions that Ryoma gave him were hilarious – they were different every time. This most recent one, the pout, was by far the most adorable; pouting just didn’t seem to fit Ryoma’s face.

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