Chapter 8:

Year 1-8: The family incident

Is it ok?

Riku was sitting at home, staring at his laptop. He had decided to start writing again, mainly because he wanted to show it to Nozomi. It was now October, he still didn´t have a chance to find out what Satsuki had meant exactly that day at the fireworks festival. At least Nozomi and Sani seemed to closer than ever. She still hadn´t told the whole club about her condition. The club hadn´t done anything of note, except for studying, for a while. The third years were getting ready for entrance exams the following year. Riku didn´t quite understand why they were already getting so focused, they still had a few months, but he was only a first year, he figured he´s understand once he was in their position.
The doorbell rang. Riku looked at his clock; it was almost midnight, who would come at this hour?
“Riku could you get it?” Hitomi called out of her workroom.
He got up and made his way to the door. It was a Friday night who in their right mind would come to annoy him at this hour? He opened the door, expecting his annoying twin friend to have messed something up again, he didn´t expect…Shu. He was drenched from the rain, he seemed to be shivering, though Riku felt like that wasn´t because of the rain. Shus hair was messy, he didn´t wear a jacked and he seemed to have a black eye. At his feet stood a small bag. “Hi.” His voice was hoarse, as if he had yelled a lot.
Riku pulled him inside, making their way to his room. He sat Shu on his bed and ran to the bathroom to get some towels, then he ran past Hitomi’s work room into the living room to grab a big blanket.
“Who was it?” Hitomi asked him.
“A senpai from club. He´s going to stay over, is that ok?”
She nodded confused.
Riku handed Shu the towels and blanket. “Thanks. Sorry to bother you at this hour.” Shu wrapped himself in the blanket. Riku thought to have seen some cuts on his arms. “Where did you get those from?” He had a bad feeling asking that. Shu stared at his arms, seemingly just now realizing Riku could see.
“I…” As soon as he began tears started to flow.
Riku hugged him instinctively. Shu was shivering even hared than before, the tears turned into full on crying.

It took a while for Shu to calm down again; his eyes now red and puffy. Riku handed him a tissue. “Would you mind explaining what happened?”
Shu looked at him. “A lot. I don´t even know where to start.” His voice was unrecognizably hoarse. It seemed to be almost painful for Shu to speak. “I got thrown out.” He explained.
“From home?” Riku was in shock.
Shu nodded sadly. “My parents found out about me and Hayato.” He was holding back tears again.
“How did that happen? Don´t tell me the twins…”
Shu shook his head. “They didn´t do anything. My father had a picture of me and Hayato kissing. He started yelling at me as soon as I came home. Then he started hitting me, like he´d never done before.”
“Your dad hits you?”
“Occasionally, mostly when he´s angry.” Shu seemed to find this normal. “My mom started crying, asking how I could do this to our family; of course she was drunk again. Like always.” He looked at the floor. “My brother looked so disgusted. At least Momo-nee tried to defend me, until dad yelled at her. It was such a mess.” Shu looked tired.
Riku decided it would be best if they tried to get some sleep, then they could talk in peace the next day. He offered Shu his bed, Riku would sleep on a futon on the floor, Shu had asked him to not leave him alone. Riku hadn´t planned to do that anyway.

The next day Riku and Shu were sitting at the kitchen table. Shu had offered to make breakfast. “Where´s your aunt?” He asked while making tamagoyaki.
“Probably still in her work room, she has a deadline to meet.” Riku answered.
“What does she even do for work?”
“She´s a mangaka.” Riku looked at Shu; he was placing different dishes on the table. “Why did you come to me?”
“Your house was closest.” Shu seemed nervous.
“Why didn´t you call me beforehand, I could have asked Hitomi to get you with a car.”
Shu looked sadly at his food. “He threw my phone against the wall.”
“Your dad?”
Shu nodded. “He found pictures of Hayato and me on it.”
The two ate in silence. How Shus father even found out about Shu and Hayato, Riku still wasn´t fully sure yet. Shu hadn´t told him how his father even got hold of that picture.

Riku and Shu spend their Saturday and Sunday reading and talking. Shu still didn´t go into too much detail about anything.
Monday morning rolled around and Riku was unsure if Shu was even in any state to go to school.
“You don´t happen to have some make-up lying around, do you?” Shu asked pointing at his, still very dark, black eye.
Riku shook his head. “But I could ask Hitomi and her assistants.” So Riku did as he had promised, he managed to get some make-up hoping it was what Shu needed.
“Are you going to go to school?” Riku asked handing his spoils to Shu. “You don´t have a uniform with you, do you?” Shu had arrived with some pieces of clothing but Riku was unsure if Shu had thought about his school uniform.
“I do have it with me…” Shu stopped for a moment, seemingly realizing something. “But I forgot my cardigan.”
“Do you need it? It´s still relatively warm.”
Shu now looked panicked. “You don´t understand, if Hayato sees that I…” Shu stopped himself. “Forget it.” He said, still in panic mode.
“Is it about the marks on your arms?” Riku asked, he really didn´t want to pry too much but he couldn´t help but ask.
Shu starred at him, shocked. It took him a few seconds to say anything. “Don´t tell anyone, especially Hayato.”
“I have a lot of things I´m not supposed to say.” Riku mumbled.

The pair had made their way to school without many more incidents; Riku had given Shu a jacket, Shu didn´t seem too happy about it.
“What´s wrong with the jacket?” Riku asked.
“Nothing, it´s just not green.”
“Does it have to be green? Is green your favorite color?”
Shu shook his head. “I hate green, but it was the exact shade of green of Hayatos eyes.”

In the club everything seemed normal. Everyone was gathered around Hayato, he was showing off pictures of Shuna, again.
“Hey Shu, why didn´t you answer my text? I put Shuna in the dress you made her.” Hayato came up to his boyfriend hugging him and trying to kiss him. Shu turned away.
“I lost my phone.” He said.
Hayato seemed to immediately get suspicious. Sani now also went towards him.
“Is everything ok?” He asked.
Shu nodded and sat down in his chair. Hayato sat down next to him. “What happened to your green cardigan?”
“It´s in the wash. I forgot to wash it until now.” Shu sounded like he was holding back tears.
Hayato shot Sani a look, he seemed to understand. Sani asked the girls and Riku to leave the couple alone for now.
“Ri-Ri can stay.” Shu said. Riku sat on the floor in front of him.
“Did you cut yourself again?” Hayato asked softly. Again? Riku thought. He didn´t feel comfortable hearing about this.
Shu showed his arms to Hayato, while explaining, through tears, what had happened. Riku didn´t focus at what Shu was saying, he just focused on those dark red lines on Shus arms, some looked fresh. His stomach felt like it was in knots. His so happy seeming senpai was in so much mental pain he had to make it physical. Riku felt tears forming in his eyes. He should have asked Shu about the marks way sooner.
Hayato was now hugging Shu; Riku felt a hand pat his head. “Thanks for looking after him.” Hayato said softly.

Riku decided to leave the two alone, he felt like he was in the way. He sat down on some bench, hiding his face in his hands. Shortly after he felt something soft around him; someone had hugged him. He managed to make out who it was: Satsuki had put her head on his. “Do you know what happened?” Riku asked through tears.
“No, but based on Hayato-sans reaction I can imagine. That aside, how are you?” She took his face in her hands. “It must have been a lot.”
Riku nodded, he hadn´t realized how sad he felt for Shu. He knew what being abandoned feels like, he didn´t want his chipper senpai to feel like he had.
He heard some whispering then someone else hugging him, this time it was Shu. “Thank you. You´re a real friend.” Shus face was covered in tear streaks. The make-up barely hid his black eye anymore, but his smile seemed softer, happier as if some weight had been lifted of off Shus shoulders.
“I want to hug to!” Nozomis voice called shortly after. It ended in a big group hug.
“Could we join?” Riku turned around; Yuki and Yuri were standing in front of the group, holding pictures in their hands. They had a disappointed look on their faces, but they didn´t seem disappointed at anyone but themselves.
Riku wanted to say something but Shu stood up and hugged them. “I told you it´s not your fault.”
Riku and Hayato seemed to be the most confused out of the whole group.
Shu turned around. “I send them a few pictures of Hayato and me. They wanted to write an article about gay couples and asked me for help. I messed up and send one to my dad on accident. That´s it, they didn´t do anything.”
Riku felt bad for having suspected them again so he gave them a big hug. He had never given and received so many hugs in his life, but he could get used to it.