this took at least two hours to write, most of it at night. i hope my effort was worth it.

Jay crossed his arms, somewhat ashamed with himself. He watched Kai hug Nya from a distance. He felt guilty; his constant fighting with Cole for Nya's love and affection has taken a toll on the poor girl. Her brother's the second person in line to be completely fed up with the pointless feud. That was why Kai was hugging his sister in the first place, to comfort her. He had said something along the lines of him and Nya taking a day off to do whatever. Jay was happy about that. He didn't mean to place so much pressure on Nya. He wasn't sure if he could call her his girlfriend at this point.

The siblings left a short while later, announcing they would be visiting Ignacia and wouldn't be back until evening. The freckled brunet was grateful for that. It would give him the rest of the day to come up with the greatest apology in the history of Ninjago!

"So, Nya. Um, I just want to start this by telling you how much I love you and that you deserve better. No, too cheesy!" Jay criticized himself, smacking his forehead with the heel of his palm. Groaning, he tried again. "I'm sorry for making you so uncomfortable these past few weeks, Nya. I didn't mean to do that to you. Please forgive me."

For some reason, it even looked like Jay's own reflection was judging him. Groaning again, he gave up for the time being. He left his room, needing to do something more fulfilling with his day than overthinking a simple apology.

He decided to serve himself a bowl of cereal. It was never too early or too late for sweet, sweet Lucky Charms. He found the lactose-free milk in the back of the fridge. (Kai and Nya were both lactose intolerant and Cole was somewhat sensitive to dairy, and Zane would rather not clean the bathroom every single day because the Master of Fire decided he wanted pizza with extra-extra cheese or Cole using regular milk instead of his usual brand for his cake.) He poured the milk and sugary cereal into a comically large bowl and, after storing the carton back into the fridge, Jay went into the living room and ate. Lloyd was also there, still in his pajamas and tapping away on his phone.

"You in trouble," Lloyd suddenly sang out, taking Jay by surprise. Swallowing his mouthful of cereal, the Master of Lightning raised an eyebrow. Without even looking up from his phone, Lloyd continued. "Kai is so gonna beat your ass when he comes back. I don't even have to beat on that," the Green Ninja snickered.

Not being able to come up with anything quippy in response, Jay gave him the middle finger. He shoveled the rest of the cereal in his mouth before turning on the TV.

It was a bit of surprise when Kai and Nya returned. The young woman was twirling, flowers in her hair, her eyes shining and a wide smile on her face. Kai followed her, carrying a large sack on his back, the same amount of flowers in his hair like his sister's. Jay tried to make himself as small as possible on the couch. He totally didn't spend the whole day in front of the TV, agonizing or the apology that still hasn't been worked out and feeling terrified at the inevitable beating.

(He totally did.)

"Zane, check it! We brought some rice cakes from Ignacia!" The Master of Fire called out, placing the sack on the counter. The Nindroid appeared from his bedroom and entered the kitchen. He opened the sack and looked inside it, grinning.

"These look amazing. I'll start on dinner so we can use them," Zane complimented. Smiling, Kai and Nya left the kitchen and headed for their respective bedrooms. After hearing both doors shut, Jay shot up and ran to Nya's room. He knocked quickly and bounced on the balls of his feet, waiting for her to open the door again. He let out a breath of relief when she did, the gentle and happy smile still on her face.

"Hey, Jay. What's up?" she asked him.

And now Jay was gaping like a fucking fish. Idiot.

"Uh, Nya… Um," the freckled brunet stammered, flicking his fingers around. "I need to tell you something." The girl kept on smiling. "Um, well… I'm sor- uh, somewhat confused with why you and Kai have flowers in your hair." GOD FUCKING DAMNIT!

Nya chuckled. "Oh yeah, forgot about these. Just a little something the village kids and Kai decided to do. Flower crowns are a must-learn to make when you spend your childhood in Ignacia. Do they look nice?" she asked, fixing a few flowers near her ears.

"They look amazing, Nya. You look amazing." Nya blushed.

"Thanks, Jay." Then she frowned. "You want to say something else, don't you? Tell me."

"Uh…" You know what? Screw it, fuck everything. "I'm sorry, Nya, for upsetting you. I didn't mean to do that to you, putting so much pressure on you to choose between me and Cole. I hope you understand." Jay bowed his head slightly to show just how guilty he felt. He relaxed when he felt Nya run her fingers through his hair.

"Of course, you idiot. Why wouldn't I forgive you?" Nya teased before elbowing Jay back up into a better posture. She held out her arms. "Here. A peace hug, so you know everything's good between us." Jay happily returned the embrace, although he was reminded of the fact that Nya was more buff than he was. He supposed that was sure to happen to the children of blacksmiths. That's one of the many things he loved about Nya, she was so strong and was proud of that part of herself.

The hug was quick but enjoyable and soothing to Jay's nerves. When they let go of each other, Nya grabbed the edge of her door and smirked. "Well, I probably have to take these flowers out and shower before dinner. Hope you like the rice cakes we brought or else I'll never talk to you again and you dishonored the elders of Ignacia." Even though her tone sounded teasing, the way she worded and said that made Jay feel like he needed to love those rice cakes.

Nya gently shut the door. Jay was about to leave when he noticed that Kai was leaning against his door frame, his arms crossed over his chest. Jay didn't even hear the bedroom door opening. That only meant one thing: Kai had seen the whole thing. His unimpressed stare supported that reason.

"Heh, hey Kai. What's up?" Jay snapped his fingers, trying to lighten the mood. Kai didn't even twitch or shift. Jay squinted his eyes. Was Kai wearing… makeup? Well, it wasn't uncommon for the Red Ninja to do so, but this looked almost like kabuki face paint.

"Why are you looking at my face like that?" Kai's question snapped Jay out of his wandering mind. "So you just now find enough of your guts to wing a 'proper' apology to my sister? You could've done better, let me start." Jay scoffed.

"Well, what do you suggest I do?" Kai grinned his sharp teeth at the shorter brunet. Although he would never directly admit it, even after being friends with the Red Ninja all these years, Kai still terrified Jay. He didn't know whether it was the teeth, the larger-than-life personality, the fact that Kai can destroy anything he so desired with his element, or something else, Jay was always wary around the Master of Fire.

"Well, back in Ignacia, for a man to prove how sorry he is, he must cut off a square piece of his flesh and let it dry in the broiling sun, then carve the apology out in the skin when it's all tough and unmalleable. Maybe you should do that, Jay," Kai said, leaning closer to the smaller ninja. Seeing the horrified expression on the other, Kai burst out in giggles. "I'm just joking, man. We don't actually do that. We're not barbarians!"

Jay tried to laugh along but now he had a new reason to be at least somewhat scared of Kai: he told stories like this that are freaking scary and seem so realistic with how steady his voice is.

"No, but seriously. It really shouldn't have taken you this long to apologize to Nya. Do you realize how petty you and Cole are being?" Silently, Jay nodded. "I'll talk to Cole later and have him apologize as well, but all I'm saying is you should have done this sooner."

"Yeah, I get it," Jay huffed, clenching his hands into fists. He flinched slightly when Kai placed his hand on Jay's shoulder.

"And also, don't let some machine control your love life. Choose the people you want to love for how they make you feel, not whether they're compatible with your personality one hundred percent of the time," Kai added, smiling. He giggled again and the random thought of Kai looking a lot like a puppy popped into Jay's head. For some reason, he didn't shake it off and just kept on thinking it. "Now I want a hug. Give me one?"

Hesitating for only a moment, Jay complied and wrapped his arms around Kai's neck and shoulders, much like how Nya does with him, and Kai put his arms around the smaller brunet's waist. There wasn't that great of a height difference between the two ninja- at most, a few inches- but Jay still had to stand in his tiptoes to hug Kai. The taller brunet even had to bend down slightly, tucking his head to hide in the crook of Jay's neck.

Oddly enough, this hug lasted longer than the one with Nya. Jay didn't know why. Maybe it was because Kai smelled so good. Like the flowers in his hair, as well as cinnamon and something else that just seemed to be entirely Kai. Jay felt his face warm and he knew he was about as red as a fire truck. (Haha.)

If he was paying more attention, he would have noticed Kai's body temperature rose ever so slightly.

Suddenly, Jay tucked his head so he was resting his forehead on Kai's collarbones. If his face wasn't red before, it sure was now. Jay had seen the Red Ninja shirtless countless times. Pantless, too. Also the occasional glimpse of his birthday suit. The same with the other ninja. He was just never so close before.

And now Kai's pecs were right in front of him at eye level.

Now, Jay was not a man attracted to someone's body parts by any means. If he thought someone was cute, end of the story. That's when he would want to know them and probably try and hang out with them. He thought- no, he knew Nya's the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. When he noticed that she had small boobs, he was so happy for several reasons. One, appreciate the small tits; it's what they deserve. Two, Nya was a generally active person so Jay was glad she wouldn't have to feel so much back pain if her boobs were bigger than they were.

But now, it almost seemed like Kai had bigger tits than his sister. It was… an interesting observation, to say in the least.

Another quite fascinating observation is that they still haven't let go of each other.

Kai seemed to have noticed and let go, although his hands still lingered on Jay's shoulders. He smiled. "Thanks, dude. Sorry if that was awkward for you. I just really like hugs." Finally, his hands left Jay's body with a gentle pat on the back. The freckled brunet found himself wishing Kai would keep his hand where it was, wanting the contact back. "Guess I'd better get cleaned up, too. But seriously, you better enjoy the rice cakes or else we're having a talk."

Yep, these were definitely warnings and Jay was going to heed them. Kai almost closed his door but paused before opening it again. He removed one of the flower crowns on his head and placed it on Jay's. "There. Even cuter than you already are."

This boy be flirting with me, isn't he? Jay thought to himself. He smiled warmly and touched the petals.

"Thank you."

"No problem. See you in a bit. Gotta find Cole, too." The door shut, leaving Jay confused.

He couldn't explain it, but it seemed to be a lot easier to fantasize about being hugged again and squishing his face into Kai's chest than it is to actually walk to the kitchen when Zane called out that dinner was ready. Lloyd emerged from nowhere (Probably hell, who knows? The kid's a mystery sometimes.) and grabbed Jay's elbow, leading him to the kitchen and grumbling about being wrong about the ass-whooping he was so sure Jay was gonna get.

(Maybe Jay wanted to get his ass whooped by Kai, LLOYD.)

And yes, Jay loved the rice cakes. They were delicious.

But now he wanted a hug. And he was more than one hundred percent positive that he wanted it to be from Kai.

Fuuuuuuuuuuccccccck, Jay is SO screwed.

somewhat disappointed that "Jay really likes the Smith siblings" is not a tag. It should be. that boy is a mess and so am i.

also, fuck lactose intolerance