Aoi doesn't say anything when Junpei waltzes into his vision and plops down next to him on the living room couch, munching away on a bag of potato chips he could have sworn that Akane bought for him and spilling crumbs everywhere onto the hard wooden floor...
His hard wooden floor, which he had cleaned just a few hours ago.
'That little bastard...'
Gritting his teeth, Aoi tries his best to ignore the annoying 'crunch' sound emitting from the younger boy's mouth and simply grabs the remote control off the brown coffee table, preceding to change the channel at a rapid pace in order to help take his mind off of Junpei's unwanted presence.
"Yo, Santa." greets Junpei, his voice muffled by the sheer volume of food in his mouth.
Eyes narrowing sharply at the familiar nickname, Aoi tries hard to keep up his aloof demeanor and pointedly decides to ignore him.
"...are you listening?"
Click. Click. Click.
'JESUS FUCKING CHRIST.' Aoi thinks in response, sighing irritably before slamming the remote control back onto the brown coffee table.
Vibrations send small bits of debris and dust flying up into the air...
For someone so smart, could he not take a hint?
Startled, Junpei stops chewing, at last, then stares at Aoi as the white-haired boy gets up and roughly grabs the bag of potato chips away from him, savagely crushing everything inside.
Junpei can't help but think that "Santa" almost looks as terrifying as "Seven," now as he gulps and unconsciously shifts away; knowing that his girlfriend's older brother was not exactly reasonable when he was angry...
"You fucking douche." Aoi growls. "Get the fuck off my couch, right now."
"But! I didn't do anything!" Junpei says defensively, on instinct.
"NOW!" he roars, and the younger boy complies immediately; almost falling over as he scrambles to get off as quickly as possible.
Aoi's eyes are wild and red.
He speaks slowly; lowly.
"Who do you think you are?" he asks, his voice filled with more venom and malice than need be.
"Wh-what do you mean?"
"SHUT UP!" he yells.
Junpei shrinks back meekly, but even that doesn't give the older boy any satisfaction as he comes closer, pulling him closer by the collar of his shirt until their noses almost touch...
Now he's snarling.
"If you think you can just walk into my fucking house and eat my fucking food and make a mess on my fucking floor and sit on my fucking couch, then you've got another thing coming, you little dick. I swear, I'm going to make you—"
"—what's going on?" interrupts a soft, feminine voice.
At that moment, Akane Kurashiki walks into the room, looking concerned as she always is.
"Aoi? Jumpy? What are you two doing...?"
Junpei watches in amazement, vaguely intimidated as "Santa" slowly deflates.
'Number Three' merely grunts, then throws Junpei back onto the couch and turns without so much as a backwards glance to either Junpei or his younger sister.
Now by the door, Aoi grabs his jacket off the nearby clothes rack and bends down to pull his signature black combat boots over his feet, staying silent as Akane continues to try and speak to him.
"Big brother? Where are you going?"
"Don't worry about it." he grumbles. "Just have a nice time with your pussy of a boyfriend."
"Jumpy! Shh!" scolds Akane, putting a slender finger to her lips.
Then she turns her attention back to her brother, her expression sad— not that he could see it.
"When will you be back, big brother...?"
"Dunno." he replies, finally finished getting ready for the cold weather outside.
He turns the doorknob and waves a pale, dismissive hand.
"I don't know what to do..." Akane says mournfully. "Aoi's been getting moodier and moodier..."
"Eh, I noticed." agreed Junpei, rubbing the back of his head. "He looks like he wants to rip my throat out whenever I come visit you..."
"He's just being overprotective, I guess." shrugs Akane. "But, I'm worried. My gut instinct tells me that there's something wrong..."
"Well..." she stops, looking pitifully dejected, "...I don't know."
"Maybe's he's just lonely." Junpei says playfully. "I mean, here I am— a handsome and heroic stud suddenly bursting into his life to replace him as his little sister's knight-in-shining-armour!"
"...don't be silly, Jumpy. You could never replace Aoi!" she says cheerfully, and Junpei sticks his tongue out.
"Yeah Yeah, I know. Just humor me, alright?"
"Anyway," he continues "I think he just needs a girlfriend."
"Yeah, you know. Someone to care for other than you." Junpei cocks his head to one side. "He worries too much, I think. I mean, I've known you since elementary school—it's not like I'm gonna do anything to you now. He needs someone to help him lighten up a little..."
"You're right..." she says slowly. "But who?"
"I don't know." replies Junpei, his eyes turning up in delight. "Let's just think about that later, after this."
"What is 'this?'" Akane asks curiously.
"This." he says, leaning down to kiss her.
"Santa" shivers, staring at the white puffs of air as breathes into his hands to warm them, just a little.
'Damn it all.'
He had forgotten to put on gloves before he walked out.
'Whatever' Aoi shrugs, trudging grumpily down the sidewalk as bustles of people walk pass him in a single, blurry haze.
Aoi keeps his head down.
His face is buried all the way up to his chin in the high collar of his stylish black military jacket; his whole outfit made monotone by his skinny jeans—also black—his headband, and his boots. His snow-white hair provides a stark contrast to this as well; complementing his exotic good looks and causing his ice-blue eyes to stand starkly out from the rest of the crowd; as evident when a small group of cheeky high school girls giggle and stop in front of him to try and get his attention.
Their attempt is pathetic, to say the least.
Aoi would've laughed if it hadn't required so much energy to do it.
"You're so cool!"
"Wanna go out for some cake with us?" They chatter.
"No, thanks." he says casually. "I don't go for girls your age."
All three students blush and seem to lose their confidence at this.
"So...you like older girls then?" one of them asks tentatively.
"None of your business." he replies coldly, brushing past them into the dream-like, cloudy sequence of people once more. "Goodbye."
He wonders if this is what Gentarou Hongou feels like; numb, not being able to distinguish between faces...
Aoi could, of course— just not now as his mind lingers sorely on his little sister and her 'annoying' little boyfriend.
'They're not gonna last.' he thinks bitterly. 'I mean, look at them! All lovey-dovey and shit and cheesy like they're in some kind of stupid Asian drama! That fucking moron deserves to—'
Suddenly, his thoughts are interrupted as he bumps roughly into the the body of a stranger, with almost enough force to jolt the both of them back...
"—HEY, WATCH IT!" he yells, shaking his head before glaring up at the 'no good, inconsiderate son-of-a-bitch...'
But was it a man, or a woman?
He stops and eyes her from the bottom up.
Indeed, it is a woman.
She looks positively stunned as she stares back at him, blinking slowly.
Grudgingly, Aoi has to admit that she is good-looking.
And then she speaks, brushing away a stray stand of blue-black hair from her face.
"Oh my God, is that you, Santa?"
'No. No way.'
"Lotus?" he asks disbelievingly.
[to be continued...]