Hayden had been waiting impatiently in the foyer when Tao finally returned with Kylee. He opened the door and waited as she shuffled into the house, her head hung in exhaustion. Without another word, Tao marched upstairs and left her to defend herself against Hayden’s barrage of questions. Traitor.
Hayden walked forward and pulled Kylee into his arms, hugging her as if she might shatter if he squeezed too hard. “Where did that bastard take you? He didn’t do anything strange to you? Are you okay, angel?”
Kylee squirmed to free herself and then stared at her brother blankly. “I am capable of taking care of myself, Hayden Nii-san.”
Hayden scowled at the comment before dismissing it as a small child trying to gain independence for the first time. “What took you so long to get back?”
“I’m not going to justify myself to you. I am 13 now. I shouldn’t have to tell you everything that I do.” She muttered, bitterness towards the situation slowly consuming her.
“Yousuke left you in my care while he is in Osaka. I can’t take care of you if you’re not here.” Hayden growled, his temper rising despite his usual composure.
“DAD said to make sure I don’t run away from work, which I didn’t. It’s my day off, damn it. I will do as I please.” She spat before storming up the stairs, a shocked Hayden staring dumbfoundedly at her back.
“She actually cursed at me?” He whined before turning to see a figure peeking from the door to the living room.
“Don’t say a thing, shorty.” Hayden growled before storming out of the house and marching to a bench in the yard to pout like a child.
The form watched after his brother in complete contempt, hating the nickname more than words could speak. He then glanced up the stairs after his only solace in this house of men and moved to follow, taking the steps two at a time and coming to Kylee’s bedroom door. He knocked softly and heard shuffling from inside the room.
“Kylee? It’s just me. Hayden went to sulk outside.” He whimpered and the door swung open moments later to a clearly ragged child.
Kylee smiled softly and stepped aside to let him into her room before locking the door to the rest of the house. Takahashi Shindou was the closest in age to her and she found he was, often, the only one who could understand her. Kylee crossed her room, empty except for a few pieces of furniture, and plopped down onto the oversized California king bed.
When HASTE had officially announced their debut, Yousuke, their adoptive father, had stripped her room of all signs of her true gender. She’d already been living as a boy since he adopted the five of them but this had always been the one place she could be herself. Now, that wasn’t even the case.
“Are you tired?” Shindou asked softly as he approached the bed nervously, his hands playing circles in front of him. “Do you want to rant to me?”
Kylee nodded lightly and Shindou climbed into the bed, lying down with his arms open in her direction. She crawled over and curled up into her brother’s gentle embrace, as she had done on several occasions recently. Shindou had expected Kylee to say something or even to cry, though she would never show that weakness to anyone, but he hadn’t expected what happened next. Her breathing slowed and he glanced down to see Kylee’s beautiful face, overcome by sleep.
Shindou smiled and watched her protectively. She must have been really exhausted if she had let her guard down so easily. Kylee’s lips parted in her sleep and she muttered something inaudible. Shindou leaned forward to catch the end of her resting rant.
The word was enough to fluster Shindou and he made to leave his sister’s bed when Kylee’s hands pulled him closer. Shindou groaned and then chuckled lightly to himself.
Leaning down to place a kiss on Kylee’s forehead, Shindou muttered softly in her ear, “You’re being too defenseless, Ohime-sama.”