James tucked a stray lock of hair behind Vash’s ear. “I’m in love with you,” he said. “I don’t know how long. Maybe always. Maybe only since he showed up.” His hands were at either side of Vash’s face, his thumbs rubbing restless at his cheeks. “I want to hold you all the time. Touch you, all the time. It’s all I think about.”
Vash let himself fall in to that familiar touch. It felt like it should have been right, would have been right a year ago. Six months ago. But love isn’t just about feeling, it’s about timing, and James had it so flawlessly wrong. And Vash pulled away.
“You’re going to leave, aren’t you?” James asked.
“I’ve already bought the ticket.”
A hand crept up Vash neck, and James leaned forward and kissed him so, so softly. And in an instant, Vash saw a world in which he’d never lost his temper at that tenth grader in the hall, never been punished, never met Mits. A world where he went to university with James, and they rented a cheap, dirty flat together near campus, and ordered takeout every evening. A world where James said these same things to him one evening, and they kissed, and loved, and there was nothing to stand in their way. No one to stand in their way. A world where he didn’t know what he was missing out on.
But he knew now.
* * *
Mits twirled him round and round the crowded Tokyo airport, and kissed him for everyone to see.