Takumi doesn’t want a tutor, and he definitely doesn’t want to spend his entire month off studying. But when he finds out who his tutor is going to be, he quickly changes his mind. Satoshi is easily the hottest of all the Kitamura brothers, but he’s so stiff and formal it’s been hard to get to know him. But if they’re going to be forced to work together, Takumi is sure he’ll be able to break through the man’s walls.
Satoshi resents being relegated as a glorified babysitter to the youngest Ibuki, but he’d do anything to please his kami. If Inari wants him to tutor Takumi, he’ll do more than that. He vows to finally instill both discipline and morals into the frivolous Takumi, no matter how much of a challenge the mischievous young man proves to be.
Satoshi pulled yet another book down from the shelf in his library. Takumi was out having dinner with some of his siblings, and he’d declined to join them. He didn’t exactly feel ready for that level of socializing yet, plus he wanted to find his autographed playbill from a production of Macbeth that had featured Laurence Olivier. No one else ever gave a damn about his stories, but Takumi seemed to love them.
“Not done the deed yet? You need to get on with it already,” a voice behind him said.
Satoshi turned to see his brother Shigure standing there with his arms crossed, a smug look on his face. “Get on with what exactly?”
“Sweeping that smitten little morsel off his feet. He’s head over heels in love and lust and awe.”
Glaring at his brother, Satoshi said, “I’ve been entrusted with his education, nothing more.”
“He’s like a little puppy following you around and begging for your attention. You can’t reject him. It’d be cruel. Inari would never forgive you.”
“You are reading too much into all of this. We’ve become friends. Some people have those, you know. Friends. People they love and enjoy being with even though they aren’t fucking.”
“He’s crazy about you.”
“Students often feel that way, briefly, but once he goes back to school, it’ll pass.”
“Hmmm, and what about you? You’ll go back to watching others enjoy him?”
Satoshi slammed the book in his hand down on the desk. “If you don’t stop talking about him that way, you’re going to regret it.”
Shigure grinned at him. “Whatcha gonna do to me?”
“You don’t want to know.”
“My tastes run to darker, less innocent souls, of course, but Takumi is hard to resist. I can’t see how you’re keeping your hands off him.”
“Because I’m not an animal.”
“You are some of the time, you know. We all are.”
“Shigure, what do you want?”
Shigure crossed his arm over his chest. “To keep you from messing this up. If you reject him and break his heart, he’s still young enough to heal and move on. That’s great for him, but what about you? What happens in ten years when you realize what you lost? When you have to sit by Inari’s side and watch Takumi wed another?”
“Why are you all doing this? Inari practically shoved us together. Even Akira is encouraging us to spend more and more time together.”
“Inari knows you best, and Akira certainly knows his brother very well. They were the first to see what we all see. Opposites attracting in an electric way.”
“Yes. I just came from taking a quick peek at the dinner party tonight. Everyone looked happy, except for Takumi. Sitting there with all those other people, he looked lonely.”
“He’s probably tired.”
“He misses you.”
“He spent the entire day with me.”
“And he still wants more. You should be happy. An entire day with you bores the rest of us to death.” Shigure smiled as he moved to sit on the surface of the desk. “You two have been running around all over.”
“Here and there. It’s educational. We visited Shakespeare’s birthplace, some battlefields from the French Revolution. A planetarium. It’s all been related to his studies.”
“And you’ve been having a fabulous time. Admit it.”
“Yes. I have. You all act as if I don’t know how to have fun, but you refuse to see that my idea of fun is different. I like reading and studying. And I like being with someone who actually wants to learn.”
“And you love being with Takumi as much as he loves being with you.”
Satoshi sighed. “I’m not like the rest of you. I want a quiet life, and I wish to always serve Inari.”
Shigure laughed. “When is the last time you did anything for Inari?”
“I’m doing something right now. Inari set me a task, tutoring Takumi.”
“Yes, an intelligent boy who doesn’t need a tutor at all. Just someone to make him do the work.” Shigure chuckled. “A little … discipline?”
Satoshi turned away. His dreams about Takumi had settled on one theme—spanking. Satoshi had never had the slightest desire to do anything like that in his life, but when Takumi made a suggestive or playful remark, the urge came over him.
Shigure gave a dramatic sigh. “Look, just think about it. When you meet up in the morning, you watch that boy’s face light up. And just remember, missing this chance will hurt you far more than it’ll hurt him. You’ll watch him love another and then watch him die, and you’ll—”
“Shut up!” Satoshi said, whirling and putting his hand to his brother’s throat.
They stared at each other a long time before Satoshi let go. “I’m sorry,” he said.
“Don’t be. I like seeing that passion. Now, take advice from the expert. I thought I was incapable of love until I met Lorn. It started out as protectiveness, as lust, but being with him changed me, forever. I don’t give a damn if you like sex or not. Falling in love will be the most extraordinary adventure you’ll ever have.”
“I’m not much of an adventurer,” Satoshi said.
Shigure rolled his eyes. “Then follow Takumi’s lead. He could teach you a thing or two as well.” He slid off the desk and walked toward the door. “After dinner, they’ll all be having coffee and cake at Akira’s. It’s Chloe and Connor’s birthday apparently.”
“Yes, I know.”
“Meaning he invited you, of course.”
“He did. It’s a family event. I’m just…”
“Just what? Just his tutor? I’m not usually so nosy, but I’ve been watching you all week. You are not just his tutor, and he is not just your student.”
“What business is it of yours?”
“None, I guess.” Shigure opened the library door. “Have fun with your books then. I’ve had my say.” He didn’t slam the door shut, but he did close it with a pointed firmness.