Dislcaimer: This is an original story that I have thought up.

Warning: This story contains boys love, talking about sex, and swearing. Read at your own discretion.

Note: This story was originally much longer but I wouldn't have been able to put it all up here. Due to that, the beginning seems a little rushed since I had to add about a year's worth of backstory. It does get a lot smoother as the story goes on. Anyway, enjoy!


It had been two months since Ran had caught his girlfriend cheating on him; two months since their shouting match right in the middle of the school hall which ultimately led to their breakup just two minutes later. It was also two months since Ran had pleaded for forgiveness from Kasumi, the person who had informed him originally about his girlfriend's disloyalty. Ran had been prepared to get down on his knees and deliver a grand speech in order to win his friend back, but all of his arrangements proved to be pointless. Ran only managed to get out "I'm sorry" before Kasumi started walking away. Ten steps later he stopped, turned around, and smiled softly.

"It's okay," he had said. "I understand. Now let's get going. I'm starving and I'm sure my dad already has some snacks baking in the oven for us."

Kasumi turned back and had continued walking. Ran grinned and quickly went to catch up. He was glad that Kasumi had forgiven him. He had been a jerk to Kasumi yet Kasumi forgave him so easily. Ran supposed it must just have been his nature.

Kasumi was a strange guy. He was well-liked by the school's population- what with his short, wispy locks the color of rosewood, and cornflower blue eyes. Of course his looks weren't his only good features. He was decently smart, a good athlete, and very kind to most people. He was considered to be a great catch, and many people, both females and males, tried to obtain him. To their dismay he rejected them, every single one.

This was how Kasumi was odd. He had no interest in people romantically. He wasn't even interested in them sensually. He'd tried to become involved with those types of things. He had tried getting himself a girlfriend, but could never bring himself to kiss her. She realized that he was forcing himself and so kindly broke up with him. He'd tried a more indirect approach, watching all kinds of pornography, but he didn't get anything from it. The entire time he was either commenting on the plot, or bored completely out of his mind.

Kasumi was not apathetic in that he just didn't care about finding a person to be with. On the contrary, he very much wanted to find a special someone. He was just unwilling to force himself to be with a person he did not like.

The first, and so far only person Kasumi had been attracted to was a new student that had come in halfway through Sophomore year. That student had been Ran. Kasumi met Ran through his friend Shannon, who had already befriended the new student the day before. Kasumi too became friends with him. At that time he wasn't aware that the new feeling he held for the black haired boy was attraction, but after seven months he was certain of his feelings for the guy. After a time Kasumi confessed to him. Ran awkwardly turned him down, stating that he only saw Kasumi as a friend. Kasumi smiled, said he didn't expect anything from Ran, and that he had just wanted his feelings to be known. He also assured Ran that his feelings would not change the way things were between them, and that he was happy just being friends.

Things had changed between them though. It was not apparent at first but once Ran had gotten himself a girlfriend things had started to fall apart. Kasumi told him that his girlfriend had been cheating, and Ran had lashed out against him. He thought that Kasumi was just jealous and had told him just that. It was only later, after the two of them had stopped speaking to each other, that he had realized that Kasumi was telling the truth. He broke up with his girlfriend and quickly reestablished his friendship with Kasumi.

Since that time Ran made sure that he was a great friend to Kasumi. He made sure to treat Kasumi like a normal friend, and not like some guy who had a crush on him. He realized that when he acted normal, then everything was that way. It had only been when he'd responded negatively towards Kasumi about it that one time that Kasumi in turn responded negatively. Otherwise he treated Ran exactly like he treated Shannon, or in some cases like Mina, their other friend. That surprised Ran. Usually if you liked someone, even if you tried to hide it there would still be an occasional slip up. Kasumi made no such errors. After a while Ran began to wonder if Kasumi still really had feelings for him, or if he ever really did to begin with. It was these thoughts that plagued his mind the morning of Valentine's Day.


Kasumi noticed that Ran was particularly withdrawn that day. He'd received ten different chocolate packages and yet Ran wasn't eating a single one of them. He wondered if maybe Ran wasn't feeling well; he wasn't eating his lunch either. It seemed Shannon and Mina had noticed as well because a moment later Mina glomped him.

"Holy hammocks! What the hell is wrong with you Ran?" Mina huffed. "You're not eating the chocolate those poor girls slaved over in order to give you, nor are you eating the delectable lunch that Kasu's dad made you! It's a sin to waste his cooking! A sin I tell you! So you either start eating mister or I'll take it off your hands for you."

Ran sighed and handed his food over to Mina. She grinned and grabbed her fork. Shannon and Kasumi cast each other worried looks. Ran wasn't usually one to give up his food without a fight. Shannon stood up and put a hand over Ran's forehead.

"Well you don't have a fever. Maybe it's that time of the month?"

Ran glared and pushed his hand off. "Shut up Shannon. I'm just not hungry all right?"

"Awe, don't tease poor Ran. That time of the month is no laughing matter. Last time I got my period I was confined to the couch, writhing in agony. My only comfort was in the fact that Kasumi was diligently reviewing my writing and editing it to perfection," Mina stated.

Ran snorted. "If you can call that smut, writing."

"Why you-" Mina was silenced by Shannon who decided it would benefit everyone if he started feeding Mina her food. She found being fed by her boyfriend quite appealing and soon the two of them were off in their own little world. Ran gave them a slightly disgusted look before turning back around and staring off into space again. He was not in the mood for couples.

"A bit put off because you don't have someone to do that with?" questioned Kasumi.

Ran let out a long sigh. It wasn't that. He wasn't all that interested in finding someone to be with at the moment. After his last girlfriend he figured it would be better to take a bit of a hiatus from dating. At this point in time he just didn't want the stress. He told Kasumi this.

Kasumi tilted his head to the side, his face wearing a look of complete confusion that made Ran want to giggle, in a totally non-girly sort of way. "Then what's up? Why are you so melancholy?"

"Meh, I don't know. I just kind of feel drained today. Maybe it's the holiday. People running around like they're chickens with their heads cut off is kind of exhausting to be around. Or maybe I just didn't sleep well last night." He shrugged, not wanting to say much more than that.

Kasumi smiled and patted him on the back. "Don't worry Ran. The day is already half over. Soon enough it'll be tomorrow and things will be back to their regularly scheduled programming. As for sleep, if you're feeling tired you can take a nap when you get home or something. Still, you should eat. Here-" He pulled out a small bag of chocolate covered almonds. "These are for you. Happy Valentine's Day! Or something... I already gave Shannon and Mina theirs this morning."

Ran slowly took the bag, quietly looking it over. So Kasumi was giving him chocolate of sorts. Although he did also give Shannon and Mina some as well. So what did these almonds mean? Were they almonds of friendship? Or perhaps something more? Or did this token mean next to nothing at all? He glanced at Kasumi. "You made these?"

Kasumi grinned. "Yup! Although my dad did help a bit. He supervised me while I was in the kitchen, making sure I didn't mess anything up- like mistake the salt for the sugar, or burn the house down, you know… normal stuff like that."

Ran snickered, "Right, because burning down the house is normal when cooking anything."

"Sadly that is the case with me. Last time I tried to cook something on my own I ended up setting the trash can on fire, and before you ask I don't know how, I just did. Not all of us are kitchen savvy like you are."

By now Ran was doubled over with laughter which got him strange looks from some of the other students but he didn't care. Kasumi's antics always tended to cheer him up. As the bell rang signaling the end of lunch he was in a considerably better mood. Kasumi stood up, and muttered something along the lines of "It wasn't funny. My dad wouldn't let me in the kitchen for four months after that." which made Ran's laughter start up anew. Kasumi glared, muttered a word that sounded suspiciously like "asshole", then went and sat down in his seat as the teacher entered the room to start the next lesson.

Once school let out for the day Ran waited outside the school for the others. Since his locker was closest to his last class he was able to grab his stuff quickly and rush out of there without any problems. The other three weren't so lucky. He was busy tossing almonds in the air and catching them in his mouth when the lovely couple came out and graced him with their presence. Mina caught the latest airborne almond and ate it before Ran could make an objection. He glared at her and decided to just stick with the regular way of eating for the rest of his almonds.

"So Ran-Ran, where's Kasu-chan?" inquired Mina.

Ran shrugged. "He hasn't come out yet, and don't call me that."

"He was called out behind the school," Shannon commented. "He should be here in a few minutes."

Mina gaped at her boyfriend. "Why didn't you tell me sooner!? Who was it? Was it a guy or a girl? What grade are they in? What did they look like? Come on man, give me details!"

Shannon sighed. "I didn't say anything to you until just now because you would have gone bouncing after him to watch, and no I'm not letting you go there now. The poor boy is probably going to get rejected and I doubt he wants anyone else around to see it."

Mina smiled slyly. "Oh so it's a guy this time. That makes him... what... the seventh one to ask Kasumi out? Add that to the twenty-three girls who've also asked and that makes thirty this school year! Damn he's got it going for him. Too bad he's never been interested. But you never know! Maybe today is the day he gets himself a lover."

Ran smiled slightly. He believed Shannon was right on target in his assumptions. There was no way Kasumi would say yes to the boy's confession. After all, Kasumi liked him, not that the other two needed to know that. If they found out that Kasumi had a crush on him it would take less than a minute before Mina pounced, trying everything she could to get the two of them together. Mina could be scary if she wanted to be and Ran didn't want to have things get messy again between everyone.

As he thought this another thought wiggled its way into the front of Ran's mind. Even though the chances were low, what if Kasumi did take the boy up on his confession? He scoffed, quickly dismissing the thought but it had opened up his mind to the questions he had pondered over earlier that day. Did Kasumi still like him?

At that moment Kasumi came strolling up to them. He looked rather tired. After a few carefully placed words and a nudge Kasumi told them what had kept him. Apparently not one, but two people had asked him out. He politely refused them both. Ran was secretly pleased. Things would stay the same after all.

"So were they both men this time?" questioned Mina as they began their way home.

Kasumi nodded. "The first one approached me at my locker and confessed at the back of the school. The second was waiting around the corner and confessed as soon as the other boy had left. And before you ask, the first one was a Sophomore, and the second one a Senior."

Mina squealed. "Seriously!? That's totally awesome! Kasumi you stud!"

Kasumi rolled his eyes. "Yeah, yeah. I'm a stud all right."

Mina groaned at his lack of enthusiasm. "You know you should be grateful. Most people would kill to have that many people pining for them."

He sneered, a rather bitter look flashing on his face. "They can have them if they want. I sure as hell don't. All I want is one person, one person to like and then have them like me back but I can't even manage that. The best I've managed is a bunch of unrequited loves which only makes me feel like an ass because most of the people who've asked me out seem like decent people. So excuse me for not being grateful for being pined over."

There was a long silence after that, no one knowing exactly what to say. They all had known Kasumi was pretty miffed about his predicament but this was the first time he'd ever lashed out because of it. Ran felt a little guilty, like it was his fault Kasumi was having such a hard time.

Kasumi heaved a sigh then gave them all an apologetic smile. "Sorry you guys. I didn't mean to get so tense about it. I just... wish people weren't so into me. It would make things a great deal easier if I didn't have to constantly worry about hurting someone else's feelings. It gets to be so tiresome."

"Oh my poor Kasu. I'm sorry for saying that. I spoke without thinking." Mina clung to him. "Don't worry my brotha, you'll find someone great to be into and they'll be into you too. You'll see. Just give it time."

Kasumi snickered, his shoulders relaxing. "Sure thing my soul sista."

The four of them proceeded to prattle on about random junk- the latest video game, Mr. Snarkoff throwing a book at a kid for texting in class, and whether or not sex in the prehistoric wing of a museum during open hours would be a good idea for another boys love story. When the third topic came about all three boys turned to look at Mina. Only Kasumi bothered to answer her, stating that "Such a rendezvous would be highly unlikely unless it was done in an area that had no camera access, and only if no one was around." He then added that the idea was "too farfetched and probably wouldn't make a good story." Mina grumbled at that but didn't say anything else regarding that matter.

Soon enough the group split up; Shannon and Mina going off for their date, while Kasumi and Ran continued on their way home. Kasumi and Ran lived a little less than one and a half miles away from the school. They had a bus, but did not like riding on it and since they were Juniors they weren't allowed to drive to school yet. They didn't mind the walk though since the scenery was nice and there weren't that many people who walked home. Most of the time it was just the two of them on the sidewalk, unless Shannon and Mina were coming with them.

After the others left the two walked in relative silence, the exception being the sound of their footsteps on the concrete. Once they reached the fork in the road the two would go their separate ways, wishing each other a good evening and saying they'd see each other tomorrow. This time though, when at the fork Ran didn't want to say goodbye yet. He asked if Kasumi wanted to come over to his house but the other shook his head. Kasumi had a paper that was due tomorrow, and his father was probably already cooking dinner. Kasumi probably would have offered to let Ran come over to his house instead but Ran's mother would also be cooking dinner at this point. The two of them lingered there for a moment, one hesitant to part, the other wondering what the first boy wanted. Kasumi made sure to ask.

Ran wasn't sure how to answer Kasumi's question. Sure there were things he wanted to bring up to Kasumi, but he did not know how to go about doing so. He was always confident when it came to talking to girls about such a subject, however Kasumi was a different matter. Ran knew that bringing up the other's confession would be like opening an old wound. He knew he shouldn't want to know whether or not Kasumi still liked him that way but a part of him was irritatingly curious, more so than Ran wanted to admit. After a few moments of mental debate he finally responded.

"It's nothing. I'll see you tomorrow."

Kasumi gave Ran a concerned look before switching it to a soft smile. "All right then. See you tomorrow." He turned with a wave and began his way home again.

Ran watched him go, still toiling on the inside. Why was he so interested in knowing? Why couldn't he just let it go? Surely that was the smart thing to do. So what if Kasumi no longer had a crush on him. It didn't matter, so he should just forget about it and let sleeping dogs lie. Nothing good would come from bringing it up. That's what his brain told him but his mouth just would not listen.

"Wait!"

Kasumi turned back to see Ran catch up with him. He tilted his head, slightly bewildered by the situation. Ran had been acting odd all day and still seemed to be having a problem. "Yes? What is it?"

"I- um... I have a question but... I don't want to seem like an ass for asking and- uh... gosh why is this so damn hard to do!?" Ran pulled at his hair in frustration.

Kasumi laughed. "Jeez Ran calm down some. Whatever you need to ask just ask. It's not that serious all right? Quit pussyfooting around and just spit- it- out."

In one swift movement, the tension Ran was feeling faded away. Kasumi was right. He just needed to ask, and then whatever happened would happen. "Okay then. I'll just come out and ask you."

"Go for it."

"I will."

"Okay."

"Yeah."

"Let's hear it."

"All right then."

"You still haven't asked me."

"I know."

"So what's the problem?"

"Nothing. Don't rush me. I'm getting to it."

"Sometime before spring please."

"Fine! I get it! I got it! Okay here it goes... do you still have a thing for me?"

Ran tried to gage Kasumi's reaction but there was hardly one at all; just a bit of a flicker in his eyes. Was that a good sign or a bad sign? Did he offend Kasumi? Did Kasumi not mind being asked? Was the answer yes? Or was it no? In those three seconds it took Kasumi to answer Ran was squirming on the inside. No matter the answer, he told himself, he'd be fine as long as Kasumi didn't think he was a jerk.

"Yes I still like you that way."

Kasumi answered him simply, without blinking or anything. He just said it as if it were obvious. Ran couldn't help but be somewhat relieved. But he wasn't out of the park yet. There was still the follow up question.

"Do you think I'm a jerk for asking?"

Kasumi smiled crookedly at Ran. "No. Why would I? It's a perfectly logical question. Why were you so spastic about asking me?"

Ran scratched the back of his head, feeling kind of foolish. "I just didn't want you to be upset at me for asking, that's all."

"It's no big deal, really. Yes I still like you, and no I'm not mad at you for asking. Is that all you wanted to know?"

He was about to say "yes" but found himself asking more questions instead. "Why do you like me? I mean I'm good looking, but there are other people out there who look similar to me. I'm smart, but not top of the class or anything. I'm a good athlete, but you could kick my ass in a fight I'm sure. I have an okay personality... but nothing special. So what's the deal?"

Kasumi thought for a moment, trying to get this right. Although he seemed calm on the surface, the truth was he was nervous as hell. Ran's first question had been unexpected, but he didn't mind answering it. He had thought that would have been the extent of it but then Ran asked him this. He wanted to know why Ran wanted to know but he was afraid to ask. He was probably just curious and there was nothing else behind it. Stopping his inner spazzing from continuing further, he responded as best he could.

"Well... I do think you are physically attractive, and yes your intelligence is something I like. I could kick your ass, I don't doubt that, though I'm sure you could give me a few scrapes," Kasumi asserted with a smirk. "But it's more than that. You're a lot kinder than you give yourself credit for. You're funny, at least to me anyway. You're brave; I know you'd back me up in a fight anytime. You're trustworthy, honest, and just... overall a swell guy. It's kind of hard for me to put it all into words. I just like you. I really, really do."

By the end of his little speech there was a light dusting of pink on Kasumi's face. As Kasumi averted his eyes from him, Ran went over what had been said. He felt his face grow slightly warm in embarrassment and was glad Kasumi wasn't looking at him. It took him a moment to find his voice. His throat had gone quite dry.

"O-oh."

Kasumi carefully lifted his gaze once he was sure that his blush was gone. "So is there anything else you'd like to know?"

In truth Kasumi was feeling a bit lightheaded. He wasn't sure if he wanted this conversation to end, but if it continued where would it go? He did his best not to fantasize about where it could go because that would bring him nothing but frustration and disappointment.

"How do you know you like me? Or would like me I guess. Meaning physically and stuff. I know you hate being touched or kissed without your permission, and you certainly have a hard time kissing people, unless it's family or friends and even then it's on the cheek, or forehead. So how are you sure that you'd like me that way? Or want me that way? If that question is too awkward you don't have to answer. I'm just... curious I guess."

And he was curious. All of the questions Ran had asked he'd secretly been dying to know the answers to. It was only now that he fully realized how badly he had wanted that knowledge. It was still unknown to him why he wanted to know so desperately, but he wasn't concerned about that at this point. What he did know was that with each response he felt both relieved and even more anxious than before. He didn't understand why that was either.

Cornflower eyes stared into slate ones before glancing away. "I don't know if I would like you physically. I mean in theory I do. I said I was attracted to you physically. But in practice I have no idea. I may think that I would like kissing you, but I've never tried so I wouldn't know. I do my best not to think about you in that sort of way."

This surprised Ran. So Kasumi never thought about him in that way? That certainly wasn't normal for a teenage male. If it had been the other way around surely he would be... Ran didn't finish that thought. Instead he inquired as to why Kasumi didn't do such things.

Kasumi gave Ran a slight frown. "I told you that I would not let my feelings change things between us. If I thought about you... in that way... it would be incredibly hard to... not want more."

Ran winced. He hadn't thought about it but what Kasumi said made sense. Somehow it didn't seem fair. Kasumi should be able to act like a normal guy, but here he was holding himself back. Kasumi was suffering, on some level, and it was his fault. Ran now felt like a total heel.

Kasumi saw the expression on Ran's features and quickly brightened his own. "Come on Ran! What's with that face? It's not a big deal really. I'm okay. Sure you're my first crush, but I don't think that you're the only person in this world that I'll ever be attracted to."

Ran's face changed ever so slightly, and Kasumi wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not. He continued anyway. He wasn't going to let Ran beat himself up over him.

"I mean, I'm sure it'll probably take a little while, but I'm a patient person. Since I am attracted to you that shows me that I am capable of at least liking someone. Sure I don't know if that's the case physically, but I can address that when the time comes. I'll find someone who I'll like and who'll like me. I have no problem waiting for that. It's only a matter of time before I find someone else. So don't worry. Everything is ay'okay. You have nothing to feel bad about so... don't, you know... feel bad... all right?"

"You could try with me."

"What?"

"You could try with me. Try kissing me, I mean."

Ran had blurted it out without really thinking it through but when his brain caught up with him and started going off he quickly tuned that part out. He knew what he was doing. He owed Kasumi this much. It was just a kiss. Kisses were no big deal. He'd kissed more than his fair share of girls. Kissing a guy shouldn't be that much different.

Kasumi blanched, the color quickly draining from his face. There was no way Ran could be serious about this. They were both guys and Ran was clearly straight. It made no sense for him to offer something like that. Somehow in trying to make things better, Kasumi obviously had made things worse.

"I mean," Ran continued. "You said yourself you don't know if you could like me physically in practice. It would be a good idea to try and test that out- you know, instead of waiting for the next person you like to come along. That way... you'll be prepared. Besides, you'll be more confident with a bit of experience under your belt. So how about it?"

Kasumi gawked at him. "You're serious?"

"Uh huh."

"Why would you do that?"

"Well... you're my friend. Friends help each other. It's no big deal. It's just a kiss. Besides, this is just an experiment. It's for scientific purposes only, you know?"

"Scientific purposes..."

Ran nodded. "So? You willing to give it a shot?"

Kasumi swallowed hard. What should he do? On the one hand he really liked the idea of kissing Ran. Part of him screamed in objection, saying that this would only harm him. That side of him wanted to turn Ran down. However... even if Ran wasn't interested in him, he was still willing to help him out. It wouldn't necessarily harm him. It was a learning experience. It was experience. It was Ran. Kasumi was done thinking.

"I will."

Ran smirked. "Okay then, whenever you're ready."

Kasumi stepped forward. "One moment. I need to say something first."

"What is it?"

"I'm going to try my best, but I need you to be honest with me about it when I'm done. Also, if at any point you want me to stop please say so and I will. Is that acceptable?"

Ran snorted. "Yeah, sure. Don't worry. I'll give you the lowdown on your technique. Now lay one on me."

Kasumi blushed. "Shut up."

Ran did as he was told. Truth was, even though he tried to be nonchalant about it, on the inside he was a bowl full of nerves. His mind was reeling, trying to decide what the kiss would be like and how he should feel about it before anything even happened. Trying to shake himself of some of his tension, Ran closed his eyes. He figured that if nothing else this action would make it easier for Kasumi to make his move.

He was correct in his assumption. Kasumi felt better as Ran's eyes closed. Slowly he placed his arms around Ran's neck; one resting at the base of his neck while the other gently moved into his hair. Kasumi stayed that way for a few moments, just reveling in the feel of Ran's silky black hair that had been structurally cut into a back-angled bob. He noticed it was much different from his own hair. Knowing he was probably going to make Ran uneasy if he kept this up he carefully swept some of the hair out of Ran's face. Pausing only once more he gently leaned in and pressed his lips onto Ran's own.

When Kasumi first kissed him Ran barely noticed it. The touch was feather-light and had only just registered to him when suddenly it was gone. It wasn't much of a kiss and Ran would have told Kasumi to try again only this time not be such a wuss when the pair of lips abruptly returned. Only this time there was much more force. Ran was taken aback by this. He had expected it to have been like when a girl kissed him but it wasn't. It was very different. Awestruck, Ran decided to participate.

He was kissing him back. Ran was kissing him back. Kasumi was absolutely enthralled by this development. He had expected Ran to stand there and just take his kiss, then it would be over and that would be that. This turn of events made Kasumi's stomach flip, his heart soar, and his brain turn to mush. This feeling was intoxicating and all he could think about when he pulled back slightly for air was the need for more. He quickly leaned in for another.

Kasumi was kissing him again, and Ran continued kissing him back. It was strange, kissing another guy, but not in a bad way. Even though Kasumi had never actively participated in kissing before he was surprisingly decent at it and with each new kiss he was a little better. He also grew more intense with each kiss until there came a point when a flash of tongue moved across Ran's lips. Ran gasped, not expecting the action, nor the jolt that accompanied it. This was too much. He knew it was. But he couldn't stop. He wanted more.

A low growl sounded in his throat as he brought his arms around Kasumi, one around his waist and the other through his hair. Ran pulled the other closer to him, yanking on his hair so that his head tilted back allowing better access to Kasumi's mouth. At this action Kasumi moaned lightly, but it was cut off by Ran's lips and tongue.

This was the first time Kasumi had ever been French-kissed. His impression of it was that it was slightly messy, but the feeling of Ran's tongue exploring his mouth was well worth it. It was pure, unadulterated bliss and Kasumi never wanted it to end. However, the two of them needed air to live and so eventually had to break apart. Panting slightly, eyes partially clouded over by lust, Kasumi started forward again only to be brought crashing back to reality.

"S-stop. That... that's enough."

Kasumi immediately took five steps backwards so that there was a man's length between them. Shocked back to the real world he quickly assessed the current situation. It was apparent by the disorientated expression on Ran's face that things had gotten out of control. Kasumi didn't know what Ran would say once he got his wits about him again, but what Kasumi did know was that he needed to be razor sharp and unshakable. So the boy put his hands behind his back, closed his eyes, and took three deep breaths. Once done he casually gazed up at the tree to his left and started counting the number of branches it had.

When Ran regained a bit of his composure his first thought was to run as fast as he could until he was home. This of course would have been extremely inappropriate and would have hurt his friendship with Kasumi. Sure, they had gone overboard, but Ran didn't need to make a big deal about it. If he was just calm and cool about it then everything would be fine. As his breathing finally returned to normal, Ran glanced over at Kasumi. He was farther back than Ran had anticipated, glancing up at the trees, looking totally fine with life. Ran wanted to glare but held it in. After all it had been his fault things had gotten so far. He was the one that was supposed say when enough was enough. Speaking of which...

"You stopped," he commented.

Kasumi glanced at him. "Yeah. I said I would when you said to."

"Right," Ran faltered a bit. "I'm just surprised. Most guys would have had a bit of trouble stopping."

"I have excellent control over myself. So if you say stop I will always stop."

"Really?"

"Really. I think it's rather rotten to continue doing something to a person when that person has already stated that they do not wish to continue. It's selfish and disgusting. Plus it shows you have little to no respect for your partner, which if that is the case then both parties shouldn't be involved with each other in the first place. Respect is a key factor in a relationship after all."

Ran stared at Kasumi causing him to blush and look away.

"Yeah so I've read a lot on the subject of relationships. So what?"

Ran chuckled at this which made Kasumi cross his arms and glare at the ground. After a moment he met Ran's gaze again.

"So... how did I do?"

Ran looked up at the sky. "You did decently. I think you should have no trouble being with another person."

"So long as that person likes me back," finished Kasumi.

"Yes, so long as the person likes you back," Ran agreed.

"Well then... thank you for the experience. It was very educational."

"Sure thing. It was no big deal."

"Right... well... I'll see you tomorrow."

Ran nodded. "See you tomorrow."

Parting greetings uttered, the two boys turned and walked their separate ways home.

Kasumi was not sure how to feel. One part of him was feeling agonizingly joyful. He had just experienced his first, true kiss. Not some kiss that was forced onto him by someone he did not like, but a real kiss- one with passion and meaning behind it, at least for him. Another part of him was writhing in mind-numbing despair, for this event had meant nothing to Ran other than the helping out of a friend. In reality Ran had probably done similar things for other friends he'd had before ever meeting Kasumi and the others. The truth of the matter was, that in the end Kasumi was still alone. Worse yet he realized that his feelings for Ran were now even stronger than before which meant it would be harder to break away from the boy and find somebody new.

Kasumi did his best to push the negative thoughts from his mind and focus on the positive ones. Even though now it would be nearly impossible for him not to think of Ran; even though he was certain that this would change things, Kasumi was happy. What Kasumi was feeling was the beginning of love, and such a feeling was the nicest thing he'd ever felt.

Ran was exhausted. The incident with Kasumi left him wholly confused about how he felt. One part of him was angry and unsure. He had lost control of himself for the first time in his life. Never before had he given into someone else like that and let them drag him along for the ride. Kasumi had completely overwhelmed his entire being, even if only for a few moments, and that thought unnerved him and irritated him. He should have been able to control himself. Another part of it was that this had been his first experience with another male. Social norms pressed the idea that homosexuals were not necessarily a good thing. Though it was becoming far more acceptable as the years passed there were still people who looked upon such people as though they were filth. Ran himself did not feel this way and for the most part did not worry about what the world thought. His problem was that if he was interested in Kasumi, his family members might not be able to tolerate it. If that was the case then he really didn't know what he was going to do.

Ran was still very shaken by his make out session with Kasumi. There was plenty to be upset about regarding it, but if he pushed that aside and relived the event he found that his heart would start racing, and a strange tingling feeling would spread throughout his entire body, warming him to the core. He had similar things happen in the past but nowhere near as intense. It was becoming obvious to Ran that he was indeed very much attracted to Kasumi, and he just didn't know what to do about it.