The sound of a door closing brought Ushio out of his dark thoughts. Raising his head, he swept the trail of tears away from his cheeks using the back of his hand and stood up. Sniffing, the man crossed the kitchen and gently opened the door, glancing out into the hallway. Juro and Tora were gone.
Feeling an overwhelming sense of sadness, the young man slipped into the livingroom. His eyes were drawn to the Christmas tree, still tall and proud in its shining glory, unaware of the heart that had shattered once again. A single gift stood out from all the others, one that drew him closer until he found himself kneeling in front of the tree. Hands outstretched, Ushio picked up the rectangular shape, peeling off the golden paper to reveal the secret underneath.
Very familiar black eyes stared back at him, filled with joy and happiness. Ushio blinked, shocked to the core as he held the picture frame with both hands, his eyes focused on the young boy smiling at him. It was... another picture, from years ago. Only, in this one, Tora and Juro... were staring at him. It was strange, he'd been sure that the pair only had eyes for each other that day. Except, there was something in their eyes that made his heart skip a beat, a possessiveness that shocked him.
Then, he remembered the moment he'd pushed so far back in his mind. At the time, his confusion over realizing the pair were together was enough of a shock without pondering how they'd looked at him that day.
'Ok, picture time! Ushio, where are you?!' Asako called, her voice drawing the boy out of the kitchen. 'What is it?' he asked, placing his now full cup of hot chocolate on the table. The short haired girl waved the camera in her hand and motioned to the couch where Tora and Juro were sitting close together. 'Pictures. Now, sit down between them. Well, are you waiting for an official invitation?!' Asako practically yelled, getting annoyed at her best friend. 'Ok, ok,' Ushio grumbled, waiting until Juro and Tora had shifted apart before slipping in between them.
It felt so weird, sitting between the two love birds. And yet, it felt so right. Ushio glanced up to see the camera focusing on him and smiled. Sneaking a peek to one side, Ushio was startled to meet the intense black eyes of the wind weasel. Flicking his eyes to the other side, the boy found his long time partner also watching him, his white eyes just as intense. One bright flash later, and Ushio wasn't thinking much else.
Ushio blinked as his fingers pulled a small sheet of paper out from where it had been stuck to the back of the picture frame. Juro's delicate handwriting caught his eye as he skimmed what appeared to be a letter... addressed to him.
Tears started to stream down his cheeks, blurring the letters on the page.
We left because our relationship upset you.
We've both grown to care about you very much. Even after all these years, we still love you.
We had hoped, that perhaps, you loved us in return.
We hope to be by your side when you read this.
Baka, we love you.
We love you.
Tears streamed down his cheeks, his head bowed over the frame he clutched painfully hard to his chest. They cared about him, and he chased them away. Flashes of anger and hopelessness hit him at the same time, his teeth clenched tightly together. In his state of despair, Ushio didn't even hear the sudden shift of air in the room, unaware of "Their" arrival.
'Oh, Ushio-kun,' Juro's gentle voice flooded through his thoughts, as startling as the two hands now gripping his shoulders. Twisting his head, the man blinked back into the weasel demon's dark eyes. Blue furred hands outstretched, shifting into pale soft skinned human hands as Juro wiped away the tears from the young man's eyes.
'Baka. Like we'd actually leave,' Tora grumbled, when dark eyes turned to him. 'Does this mean...' Ushio breathed, staring at the pair wide eyed. 'We're staying, of course,' Tora stated, crossing his arms over his chest. 'Unless... you don't want us to,' Juro whispered, leaving the decision up to the young man.
Ushio's head bowed slightly, ebony bangs shadowing his eyes for a moment, a painful moment in which both monsters wondered if they'd made the right decision. Tora grunted and blinked down in shock when the young man suddenly leapt at him, hugging him tightly around the waist, face pressed against his fur. Juro smiled to himself as he watched Tora, who looked uncertain of what to do, took hold of the man's shoulders gently.
'I did miss you. Both of you... baka monsters,' Ushio choked out, fighting back tears. 'It's ok, Ushio-kun,' Juro whispered, tugging the human into his arms and looking down into dark eyes which shone with relief. 'We missed you too,' the weasel man said, leading the youth towards the couch.
The room was silent for a time, as Ushio shifted to let Tora slide his form around, laying fully on the back of the couch, his head and arms on the side nearest Ushio's head. Juro took a seat next to the young man and waited. Hands clenching in his lap, Ushio's words were deep and mourningfull when he next spoke. 'I'm sorry.'
'It's ok. There was nothing to forgive. If anything, we should be apologizing for not realizing it sooner. Right Tora?' Juro directed his gaze at the monster lord lounging beside them. 'Humph! Like I'd ever apologize to a hunter,' the tiger growled, sounding faintly annoyed. Ushio simply smiled up at the beast, he'd expected that kind of response anyway.
Instead, the young man leaned back against the wall of soft orange fur, welcoming the loving embrace. Glancing up, Ushio nearly laughed at the shocked look on the beast's face. 'Love you,' the man whispered, grabbing hold of one of the monster's long ears and pulling him gently down for an upside-down kiss. Juro nearly laughed as his former lover's giant white eyes bugged out, before he decided to take advantage of the situation.
'Hey, let him breath,' Juro announced a minute later, watching the liplocked pair. Tora pulled back first, smirking across at the human formed weasel, before looking down at the man leaning weakly back against him. 'I should have done this years ago,' the monster lord mused to himself at the idea of having the demon hunter completely at his mercy all those years ago. It might have saved him a few whacks with the spear.
Ushio came to his senses, after pulling himself away from the beast, and turned to Juro. 'I never thought...' the man trailed off, looking away with a hint of sadness in his eyes. Juro reached out, grasping the man's chin and pulling his face back to face him. Looking deep into black eyes, he whispered, 'I know. But, it is happening now.'
Tora rolled his eyes as Juro leaned down for a gentle kiss, holding Ushio close. Moments later, they pulled apart, only for Ushio to lean back again, eyes falling half closed. 'Try to get some rest. Don't worry, we will be here when you wake up,' Juro promised, receiving a slight nod from the youth. 'Love you too, Juro,' the boy whispered, eyes falling closed. It didn't take him long to slip completely into sleep, not after the stressful day he'd had.
The sound of the coffee maker broke the silence less than 10 minutes later and Juro rose to get it. Taking a moment, the young human formed monster leaned down to brush his lips against Ushio's forehead and whisper, 'We're never leaving you alone again, Ushio. Our beautiful Ushio.'
Author's Note: Kawaii! Such a sweet ending, if I do say so myself. Well, review please!