When the knock came upon the door at last, Tachibana Kippei flew to answer it. Of course, once he reached the front entranceway he stopped and looked around, making sure the house was in order. It wasn't often he had the chance to have his boyfriend over - he wanted to keep their relationship on the down low to his parents, even if they were already out to almost everyone else, and the safest way to do that, he figured, was to simply make sure they never knew he existed. But this weekend his parents announced they were taking a small vacation, and his sister, An, took it upon herself to make plans to be at a friend's house (wow he loved her..), giving Tachibana the place all to himself. Two whole days alone...with Yanagi Renji. So he made sure the place looked decent, then opened the door.

"You're here," he greeted with a smile.

"So I am," Yanagi nodded in response.



They did all the things they loved to do together, talked about everything from books to tennis, worked on homework together, cuddled on the couch watching TV together. It was a lot of fun, and comforting simply to be in each other's presence. As the night wore on they made plans for the next day, an actual date at the park, complete with a picnic and tennis. And then Tachibana brought out a science fiction movie he'd rented, and they settled in to watch it.

But first, snacks.

He'd prepared a bowl of some of their favorite munchies - sliced apples, pineapple, grapes, melon - which Yanagi picked at idly while Tachibana made some tea. He was happy in this little bit of domestication between them, and his lips curved into a soft smile as he picked up and began to fill the second mug with hot water.

Yanagi watched him quietly, then said suddenly "I love you."

Tachibana froze, taken completely by surprise by the admission from his boyfriend. Of course he'd felt it, two people couldn't be together so long if they didn't care for one another, but never before had either of them really said it. The 'real'-ness of their relationship smacked him, as it did only every now and then, and left him speechless. This was his life, this was really happening. These feelings really existed.

So lost in his shock, he didn't notice the hot water continuing to pour until the mug overflowed, scalding his hands. It instantly brought his attention to the present, and he yelped as he reflexively pulled his hand back, dropping the cup. He started blowing on his burnt fingers, until Yanagi calmly took him by the wrist and led him to the kitchen sink, turning the tap on cold. He held Tachibana's hand under the cool water, neither of them speaking as they watched the redness fade.

After a silent, thoughtful moment, Yanagi quietly said "you don't have to say it back. I wouldn't want you to if you didn't mean it. I just wanted you to know.."

Nodding slowly, Tachibana responded softly with "I know."

When his hand was cooled and safe from further injury, Yanagi carefully patted the fingers dry with a towel, then smiled. "All better."

"...Thank you."



It was cozy, the way they sat cuddled on the couch. Tachibana's arm around Yanagi's shoulders, resting against each other while they watched the rented movie. The fruit bowl was in Yanagi's lap, and every now and then Tachibana would reach around to take a piece for himself.

But as he plucked a grape from the bowl, a smile again formed upon his lips, and he brought it up to Yanagi's mouth, where it was accepted with a chuckle. Tachibana also chuckled as he fed the other teen another grape, then kissed the side of his head, savoring the feel of the smooth hair against his tender lips. Then he moved down to gently nibble the top ridge of the other's ear, before leaning in to whisper softly...

"I love you too."