"Do you want me to get you an ice pack?"
I resisted the urge to throw my text book at his head. "No."
"Okay," he murmured, and went back to his homework.
The only sound in the room was his pen scratching across paper and one of his CDs playing quietly. I turned another page and actually looked at it for the first time the entire night. I had managed to go through twenty pages without noticing a thing. Fuck. I rolled onto my back, dropping the book on the floor.
Choutarou jumped as the too-fucking-big textbook hit the floor with a muted thud and looked over his shoulder, stupid puppy-dog eyes round. "Shishido-san . . ."
"What kind of lazy teacher assigns a fifty page reading for a junior high student, anyway? I have better things to do than read that crap." I put my hands behind my head and stared at the ceiling, watching out of the corner of my eye to see if Choutarou would obsessively pick my textbook up. He didn't. "You never told me you had a brother."
Choutarou turned around in his chair so he could rest his arms along the back, and his chin on his arms. I tilted my head just a bit so I could get a better look at him, figure out what was going through his head. He licked his lips, started to say something, stopped, and tried again. "He's my half-brother, really," he said, like that explained everything.
I didn't say anything. I'd gotten to know Choutarou well enough, especially since we became partners, that I knew he'd just keep talking to fill in the silence, until he ran out of things to say.
"His mother divorced our father a few months after he was born . . . Around the time Father met Mother . . . I've known him my whole life" He frowned, staring down at the floor. "I don't want you to mention to this to anyone else, Shishido-san. Please."
Not very likely that I'd waste breath telling anyone in the school anything, but I nodded without saying anything.
After a few minutes of silence, in which his CD came to an end, he explained, "Because aniki went to a lot of trouble to keep people from connecting me with our family when I entered Hyotei, he said it would be better for me, and I'd hate for all that hard work he did to have been in vain."
One of my eyebrows rose of it's own volition. This bastard was sounding weirder the more Choutarou said. I really didn't want to find out how screwed up Choutarou's home life was. There are some things you're happier not knowing. I was not going to be dragged into some fucking melodrama, not even for Choutarou. "Sure, Choutarou, whatever you want. My lips are sealed" I reached down, picking my book off the floor. I opened it again without looking at him. I could feel him staring at me, waiting for something. I sighed. "Is there anything else?"
"No, Shishido-san . . . Nothing important. Thanks for listening."
"No problem, Choutarou."
"Right," he said, and slowly turned back to his homework.
"What is it, Shishido-san?"
"Your brother . . ." I frowned at my book as I heard Choutarou turn to stare at me.
"He's an asshole."
It was a mean thing to say, something said to annoy him, to see how he'd respond, to make him stop staring at me with those worried eyes of his and let me work. It was also completely true, but Choutarou would never be able to see that, because he's an idiot about a lot of things.
"Shishido-san . . ." Choutarou said, disapproval heavy in his voice.
"Do your history reading," he said, and got up to change the CD.
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