"Are you all right?"
Otoya jumped a bit at the voice, before turning to eye its owner. There stood the best friend of the woman who had broken his heart, Tomochika Shibuya. Her violet-coloured irises were staring him down from where he was seated a few feet away, concern swirling in them.
Sighing heavily, he blinked at her before directing his gaze back to its original place on the floor. "Honestly, Tomo, no," he breathed, pulling a hand through his shaggy red hair. "But... I guess I have no choice but to eventually buck up, now do I?" He looked up again and gave her a bitter smile, trying to convey that he just wanted to be left alone, but at the same time he was more than grateful for her presence so he could finally have someone to talk to about his feelings and vent his frustrations to.
Tomochika took a tentative step forward, silently asking if she should in fact leave him be, but he shook his head at her and waved the other redhead over. The floor of the dark room creaked noisily as she walked over to him and took a seat beside the young idol. A long while passed before anything was said between the two. Gripping the side of the soft sofa between her polished fingers, the young woman stared at the depressed man at her side. To see him like he was in that moment so put down, so cheerless and unhappy was disconcerting. He was normally loud and expressive, jubilant and joyful. But now he was just distressed and reserved, his mouth a thin line on his face and his brows drawn together in unspoken disappointment. Raising a hand, she debated whether or not she should bring him out of his contemplative, grumpy state, but decided against it when he turned to her, eyes sad and longing, and exhaled.
"It... it was just sudden, I guess," he admitted after a few more seconds of glaring at the ground pensively. "One second we were all together and just friends and nothing more... and the next we all find out that something's going on between her and Hijirikawa..." He spat the other man's name out venomously, and was surprised by how hateful he could sound about a man he had come to see as a brother.
"Don't say Masato's name like that," Tomochika scolded, gripping his arm a bit. "He's still your friend, and he didn't mean to hurt you."
"If that's so, Tomo, then why did I have to find out by walking in on him and Haruka kissing? Why couldn't they gather the courage to tell us all as a whole, instead of being cowardly and hiding in the dark for who knows how long?" he shouted at her, face contorted in a thinly-veiled rage.
Tomochika backed off then, knowing that he had a point. She didn't know how long her best friend and Masato Hijirikawa had been in a relationship together, as it could have happened only recently or been progressing for months no one knew but the couple. And while it didn't hurt her in the same way it did Otoya and the other four boys of Starish, it hurt that Haruka never even told her, a loyal friend from the beginning. She thought that they trusted each other, but apparently not.
"I... I'm sorry," he said after a few quiet moments passed. "I shouldn't have raised my voice at you. Hell, I shouldn't even be taking this out on you you didn't do anything wrong."
Biting her lip, she shook her head quickly. "No, I understand. You're angry."
"Tomo," he turned to her and stared at her, unblinking. "I'm not angry. I'm furious. But there's nothing I can do about it. Haruka's made her choice and I'm not it, unfortunately." His red eyes burrowed into hers with such intensity that she turned away abruptly, uncomfortable. Silence cast over them again, and after a short while of contemplation, she scooted closer to him and slung an arm around his shoulder consolingly, squeezing her arms around his shoulder just a bit.
He leaned into her, and she was surprised by the gesture, but did not pull away. Burying his hands in his face then, Otoya forced out, "I think what hurts the most is that she gave each of the same amounts of respect and affection. She never spent more time with one of us over another. Never gave us a reason to hate one another because of petty jealousy the group and our friendship always came first. But then for her to just up and choose, all of a sudden it seems, Masa... it was jarring and unexpected. I mean... you're right; I don't really have any reason to hate them. But I can't just forgive them like they want me to. Not yet."
Tomochika blinked at him as his true, pent up feelings towards the situation spilled out of his mouth without restraint. She knew that she was someone he trusted and the only one he could really talk to at that moment he wouldn't go to Haruka as much as the sunset-eyed girl wanted to talk to him and the others were in the same depressed pit he was and wouldn't provide the support that he needed in that moment.
Rubbing his arm a bit, hoping her actions were comforting, she leaned her head against his shoulder and offered him a warm smile. "And that's okay. You're allowed to be upset and take your time before sorting things out. It's only natural, Otoya."
He nodded at her and gave her a small, sad smile back before turning away again. Seemingly hours of quiet passed, filled with personal conflict and contemplation on Otoya's part, before the red-haired young man shifted suddenly and caught Tomochika in a tight hug. She gasped, surprised, but feeling his face press into her hair and the skin of her neck, she relaxed and held him back. Feeling him shake a bit in their embrace, she pressed her cheek against his head and whispered softly, once more, "It's okay."
And at that, the dam broke, and the usually jovial boy in her arms shivered and a small sob escaped his throat, a strangled, miserable noise. The normally resilient woman holding the man felt her own eyes tear up a bit at his release, but managed to hold it together, because in that moment, she needed to be strong for Otoya, for a boy stuck in love who couldn't be for himself.
He cried nearly silently, obviously holding back so that he could still claim some of his dignity at the end of the ordeal. Her manicured hands ran up and down the length of his back soothingly. "I loved her," he breathed whisperingly into her ear. "I do love her, and dammit, I don't know how to stop!" His voice was ragged and raspy he was exhausted emotionally. Tomochika felt her heart prick in her chest at his uttering of his feelings for Haruka she always knew how Otoya felt about her best friend, but actually hearing the admittance, for some reason, made her chest ache. Shaking her head, she forced herself to pay attention to the true matter at hand Otoya's heartbreak and not get distracted.
She didn't say anything in response, because after such a physical reaction, she couldn't form the words to convey how she felt because she didn't know exactly how she felt in that moment. Settling for pressing a kiss to his forehead instead, she sighed and buried her face in his neck again, the action causing a shiver to run down the young man's spine unexplainably.
It was only when the first rays of dawn poured through the window of the once-pitch black room that Tomochika realized how long she had been comforting him for, but when she pulled away and looked into his pain-filled eyes, she knew that it was worth it and that she had made the right choice coming after him, that he needed her more than Haruka did in that moment. He retreated away from her suddenly, though, and she felt an immediate loss of warmth, but for fear of confusing both of them further, did not reach out and pull him back, instead allowing him to distance himself from her again.
He wiped at his eyes and sniffled a bit from beside her, but these efforts proved that he was at least trying to compose himself. Quiet cast over them again, however it was not as charged and strained as before, and without missing a beat, Otoya's hand reached over and he intertwined his fingers with Tomochika's easily. Her entire body stiffened, but when she turned and saw him smiling genuinely at her, she relaxed and squeezed his hand in hers. "Thank you," he said after a short while passed, "for being here for me. You're great, Tomo. Always here for a friend in need."
Tomochika's eyes fell to the floor at his words and her smile dimmed minutely, but she nodded. "Always, Otoya." The more time that passed between them then, the more uncomfortable she began to feel for some reason she could not place, but not wanting to jar Otoya out of his calmed mindset, she kept still and allowed him to continue holding her hand in his. She searched her mind for explanation as to her sudden uneasiness, but when her mind offered her an answer she knew was more than just viable, but was true, she forced it out, forced herself not to acknowledge the way her heart and mind kept focussing on how he gripped and squeezed her hand, how he initiated the action... and instead concentrated on how just moments before, he had confessed to being in love with her best friend. Though this thought was meant to quell her restlessness, it simply served to make her feel worse, and this time, the feeling stuck.
The fiery female was granted release from Otoya's awkward hand-holding when her phone buzzed in her pocket, and jumping out of surprise, he released her hand and blinked at her questioningly. Reaching into her pocket and withdrawing her cellular device, she stared at it until her eyes focussed in the dim light and saw that she had received an apparently urgent text from Haruka, who more than likely had set herself off in another fit of unrelenting tears.
When Tomochika frowned at her phone, Otoya knew who is was and his face fell noticeably and he moved away from the woman until there was nearly half a metre of space between them. Standing up abruptly, she turned to him and was about to open her mouth, when he shook his head and smiled sadly, the sight twisting Tomochika's heartstrings even further. "You should probably get going," he whispered, "she'll just continue to work herself up I doubt even Masa can calm her right now."
Her violet eyes continued to peer down at him, trying to assess if she should stay with him a bit longer or attend to her friend's vulnerable feelings. Nodding once at him, she made her way towards the door, and turning back once more, voiced her original question, "Are you all right?"
"No," he reiterated his previous answer truthfully. "But I know I will be with a bit of time and effort on my part. Having people like you around doesn't hurt, either." He winked at her playfully then, a spark of his true personality shining through and causing Tomochika to smile brightly. Otoya felt his chest swell at the sight of her pretty face directing such a grin towards him, before he motioned to the door. Sharing one last look with her, he mouthed his thanks again and with that, she left him alone in the now brightly morning lit room.
Otoya's gaze fell to the floorboards as it had been before she had come to him and he reflected with increasing confusion on what had just occurred. He didn't like to think of himself as selfish, but he expected that Tomochika might come and pay him a visit like she had the one thing he didn't expect, though, was that her leaving him in that moment would be nearly as painful as the night when he caught Haruka and Masato kissing in a dark, lonely hallway. He didn't expect that he would want the other redhead back in his arms as much as he did and yet, despite how much he searched his broken heart for an answer, he could not find one that satisfied him. Growling in frustration, much to his dismay, he found that his mind was even more jumbled than it was before Tomochika had arrived, but his heart was incredibly lighter, and right then, that was all he needed.