Kenren was happily walking through the halls of Tenkai, sake jug swinging in his hand. He arrived at his destination and knocked on the door, cocky smile fixed firmly in place. He was looking forward to spending his unexpected free time with Tenpou. Plus, he knew that the field marshal had been swamped beneath a load of paperwork for the past week and thought he could use some unwinding.
“Come in,” Tenpou called out. He sounded distracted.
Kenren opened the door and walked in like he owned the place. As usual, Tenpou’s living quarters were messy as Hell; books everywhere plus various other things. But mostly books. The brunet was sitting at his desk, reading an official-looking piece of paper. For once, he was in uniform so that probably meant he had just arrived from a meeting.
The general stood there, admiring the way the military uniform displayed Tenpou’s perfect body when the bespectacled man looked up. “Hello, Kenren. What can I do for you?” There was something a bit off about his tone of voice; it seemed a bit cold.
Kenren simply chalked it up to having too many things to do. He held up the sake jug and grinned. “I thought you could use a break. Want to help me empty this?” He gave the jug a shake for emphasis.
Tenpou sighed then gave an exasperated smile. Though it was a bit smaller than usual. He moved his papers and placed them on a neat pile beside his desk. Moving quickly, Kenren dragged an extra chair towards the desk and settled down comfortably on it. He placed the jug in front of Tenpou and the field marshal pulled out two shallow cups.
They sat in companionable silence for a few minutes, drinking sake and appreciating the brief respite from their duties. Kenren propped his feet up on the desk and chanced a glance at the other brunet. Tenpou seemed distracted. Usually, when they were alone together, the other man would be laughing or talking about some random Earth-related thing he had found. Now, he was just drinking his sake quietly.
“Anything wrong, Tenpou?” he asked.
“There’s nothing wrong,” Tenpou replied smoothly.
Though most people wouldn’t notice it, Kenren saw that Tenpou was lying. Well…he wasn’t most people anyway. He placed his feet on the floor and rested his elbow on the desk, chin in his hand. “Come on, you can tell me. What’s wrong?”
The field marshal placed his cup down on the desk. A little bit too forcefully, Kenren noted. “Kenren, I told you; there’s nothing wrong. At all.”
“If nothing’s wrong, then I’m a virgin,” the general replied smoothly. “You know I can tell when you’re lying. Now spill.”
When his friend stayed silent, Kenren began to get irritated. He wasn’t used to being brushed off and he wanted to help Tenpou. How was he supposed to do that when the field marshal kept shooting down his attempts at being an understanding friend?
“This is stupid. We’ve known each other for how many years already and you choose this moment to refuse to talk to me?” Kenren said. “You’ve told me almost all of your deepest darkest drunken secrets and now you just clam up when I’m trying to help you. What? Have you done something so unbelievably wrong that I would hate you if I knew?” He released an exasperated sigh. “Dammit, Tenpou, why won’t you talk?”
It was maddening seeing that something was obviously bothering his friend. It was even more maddening when said friend refused to open up to you and share even though in the past years of your friendship there had been absolutely no secrets. Well…one secret if you counted Kenren secretly being in love with Tenpou.
Finally, the green-eyed man looked up, eyes boring into Kenren’s darker ones. “You want to know what’s wrong? Fine. I’ll tell you.” His voice grew dangerously low and it didn’t hide the fact that Tenpou was angry; angrier than Kenren had ever seen him before. “When were you going to tell me, Kenren?”
“Tell you what?” The general hadn’t expected this.
“When were you going to tell me that you were in a serious relationship?”
What the fuck—? Serious relationship? Him? Kenren? The playboy of the Tenkai army? Did Tenpou have a concussion of some sort? “What the Hell are you talking about?”
Tenpou’s eyes grew cold. “So. It’s not serious? You just got some random hussy pregnant and now you’re not even willing to take care of the problems the child’s presenting? Not very noble of you.”
Child? What child? Kenren glanced at the sake jug. Maybe there had been something funny in it, making Tenpou act this way. In all of his years playing the field, Kenren had never gotten anyone pregnant. He was always careful and even if he had been lax in preventive measures, he wouldn’t simply leave a poor woman with a child to raise on her own. He may be a lot of things but he wasn’t the type to shirk his responsibilities when they were as important as something like a baby.
“Tenpou,” he began slowly, “I don’t know what they’ve been asking you to do, but you’re obviously overworked; your brain’s all muddled. I can ask the higher-ups to give you a leave or something if you want.”
“I am perfectly fine, Kenren,” the field marshal snapped. “I just feel betrayed that someone I consider my close friend has kept such a big secret from me. How old is the child now? Nine years? Ten? That’s how many years of lies and deceit!”
Kenren was totally confused by now. He simply couldn’t comprehend what was going on in his friend’s mind. “I don’t understand…”
“Stop trying to play innocent with me! I heard the rumors! You even said it yourself; he’s your lovechild!”
Lovechild? It all clicked into place. Kenren began laughing. At first he tried to stop, placing his hand over his mouth to stifle the laughter but he eventually gave up, doubling over, breathless gasps and guffaws escaping him. A stern frown came over Tenpou’s features; he was obviously not amused.
“Tenpou, that kid isn’t my lovechild. He’s Konzen’s little pet monkey. Kanzeon Bosatsu saddled blondie with the job of taking care of the little guy. I just told those two idiots that he was mine so that they would leave him alone.” He leant back in his chair, an amused smile on his face. “You should’ve seen their faces when I told them that he was my kid.”
The other brunet clearly didn’t believe him so Kenren sat up straighter. “Come on. You can talk to Konzen if you want. The ice princess will back me up on this one.”
Tenpou sighed and picked up his cup again, taking a sip. “Never mind. I believe you.”
“Konzen would never lie to cover up for you and you would never go willingly to him if you knew that it would mean exposing your lie.” There was a brief silence, broken by Tenpou’s apology. “Sorry if I jumped to conclusions.”
Kenren waved off the apology. “Nah. No problem.”
Another silence. Suddenly, a thought struck Kenren. “Wait…were you jealous?”
Tenpou looked surprised. “Me? Jealous? Why would I be jealous?” Even as he spoke, a very faint blush appeared on his cheeks. He took another sip of his sake and motioned for the general to refill his cup when it was empty.
By the time the jug was empty, Kenren was obviously light-headed. He blinked a few times at the field marshal. He stood up and took an unsteady step towards the other man.
Tenpou quickly stood up and put an arm around Kenren’s shoulders to help steady him. Though he would never admit it, such close proximity was a bit uncomfortable because he held unrequited feelings for his friend.
Suddenly, Kenren looked straight into Tenpou’s green eyes, leaned in, and—
—whispered into his ear, “I like you too, Tenpou. No need to be jealous.” He promptly passed out from the alcohol after speaking. Tenpou was now left with an unconscious general, two cups, and an empty sake jug.
A wry smile made its way across his lips. “Well, at least I know he likes me.”