The (un)Successful Confession of Derek Johnson

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Justin has a box of chocolates. Derek misinterprets.

Submitted: November 25, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: November 25, 2017




Justin has a box of chocolates. Derek misinterprets.


“Do you want some?” Justin asks when Derek continues his five minute long stare with the box of chocolates on the desk.

“No, no,” Derek waves him off, a slight frown on his face. “I don’t want any.”

“Then what’s the problem?” Justin gives Derek a patient look, but Derek is still glaring at the chocolates. He may be many things, but Justin knows that the blond isn’t crazy enough to be holding a glaring contest with a simple box of chocolates.

Derek shifts in his seat and finally, finally takes his eyes off of the box to look Justin in the eyes. “It’s just you—I didn’t know that you—”

Justin doesn’t think he’s ever seen Derek Johnson flustered. Nervous, wrecked, tired, happy; he’s seen all those range of emotions, but he’s never seen flustered before. It’s a new thing and Justin memorizes every detail on Derek's face from the flushed cheeks to the slight furrow of his brow. He waits patiently for Derek to gather his wits about him and speak coherently.

“Do you—Do you like someone?” Derek finally asks. He looked down at his fingers as he shyly twiddled his thumbs.

Justin feels his eyes widen. “Do I like someone?” he echoes and nearly smiles. “Of course. I like a lot of someones.”

“No, not like—” Derek makes a frustrated noise and his bright blue eyes ghosts over the box of chocolates again for a second before snapping back to attention on Justin. “I meant if there was anyone, um, special you like? Like like?”

“Repeating the same word twice does not change the meaning of the word,” Justin reprimands lightly. He can’t help but sound amused and Derek scowls, picking up on his emotions.

“You know what I mean, Justin,” Derek says.

Justin considers his words for a moment and then says; “There is. And you?”

Derek opens his mouth to speak and the words die in his throat as a blush, not the angry red flush from earlier, but a full on blush floods Derek's face from the tip of his ears to his neck, running past the neckline of the plain black T-shirt he’s wearing. “I might have someone in mind,” Derek mumbles quietly, looking at his hands again.

There’s a moment of silence and Justin takes pity on the blond. “I see. Does this conversation topic have anything to do with chocolate? If not then, let me suggest that we go for an early dinner today.” He smirked as Derek looked up at him, confused for only a moment before looking at him with that smile that he knew all too well.

Derek's shoulders sag with relief almost immediately and he jumps to his feet. He’s much taller than Justin now and his skin’s bronzed from the hours he spends exercising  outside every day. The wisps of hair on his cheeks never seem to fade or deepen even with time and Justin almost sighs.

“Where should we go? Oh man, it’s been forever since I’ve been to Arizona, I don’t really know a place. What about you? I bet you know all the good places! What about ramen? Do you guys have a good ramen place here?” Away from the awkward train of conversation, Derek's chattery self returns with full vigor. Justin just nods politely as Derek continues to blather on about the most delicious ramen in Los Angeles and how he hopes that there will be a place just as good in Arizona.

As they exit Justin’s office, they are immediately flanked by Sarah and Alex.

“You’re signing out early,” Alex observes. There’s a hint of a smirk in his voice and Justin willfully ignores it.

“We’re going for an early dinner,” he says and just knows that his siblings had just exchanged looks from either side of him. Derek is either ignoring their antics or is entirely oblivious.

“Oh really? Where to?” Sarah asks.

“The decision’s up to Justin!” Derek says with enthusiasm. “I hope wherever we’re going has ramen, not that I won’t like the place if it doesn’t, but what kind of restaurant doesn’t have ramen?”

Alex laughs and punches Derek playfully on the arm. “Are you kidding? What if you went to a steak house? Are you going to ask them for ramen there too?”

“Um…they should have steak ramen, right?”

Sarah rolls her eyes at the absurd conversation and turns to Justin. “Why don’t you take him to Mainichi Buffet? It’s got food from all over so he’s bound to have something he’ll like.”

“I’ve never been there,” Justin admits. “Is it good?”

“Don’t know,” Sarah shrugs, the whole action lifting the giant fan on her back up and then down. “But it’s down the block to your left. You can’t miss it. It’s decked out all fancy-like.” She smirks.

“Sarah..,” Justin sighs with fond exasperation. “Thank you for your input. Alex, stop badgering Dereck with stupid questions. Dereck, stop answering his stupid questions OK? We’re going to dinner.”

Alex makes a face and then nudges Dereck meaningfully. “Okay,” he says, his voice an octave too high as if he’s a child concealing an ill-hidden secret. “Have fun!” Alex probably did have some secret and Justin almost rolls his eyes. When Justin turns down the street, he hears Alex call out to Derek in a horribly loud whisper: “Go get him, tiger!”

Derek blushes a light crimson and jogs to catch up to Justin, who’s desperately trying to pretend that he’s not related to Kankuro.

“So, um,” Derek says. “Er, a buffet! I like buffets. They’re nice. With all the food. And stuff.”

Justin looks at Derek and the blond is suddenly very, very close. Even though they’re walking side by side down the street in the late afternoon with the hot desert sun glaring into his eyes, Justin can see every detail of Derek in high clarity.

Like how there's a bit of sand at the spot right below Derek's left ear. An old, white scar on his neck. Tiny smattering of freckles dusting the bridge of his nose. One random strand of brown in an otherwise full head of blond hair.

And then Derek smiles and it puts the desert sun to shame.

“You hardly make sense sometimes, you know?” Justin states more than asks because Derek has to know how much of a babbling idiot he is sometimes.

Derek laughs and shoves at Justin playfully. “You just need to learn how to have fun!”

Mainichi Buffet is decorated in the most outlandish style Justin has ever seen and he’s seen plenty of places on his diplomatic travels. He gets a lot of ‘Oh, you’re from California! Well, you must simply try this place, the food is to die for and please tell your friends back at home how wonderful this place is’ wherever he goes. The insignia of many nations hang from little banners all around the room and the walls are painted a shocking purple. Multitudes of statues and fake replicas of famous weapons around the world decorates the empty spaces between tables. Justin almost laughs when he sees a replica of Sarah’s giant fan on the back wall and one of his gourd right next to the cash register.

Dereck just grins. “Seats for two please!”

“Of course, right away, sirs,” The server says and ushers them quickly into the restaurant and past the rows of piping hot buffet trays.

They end up in the VIP room where the décor is, thankfully, a lot less gaudy. The cream colored walls are a far cry from the outside. The table that they end up seated at is circular and large; it’s bigger than Justin’s office desk, which is saying something.

The food is strange tasting; spicy and tender on some dishes while others are crispy and sweet. Derek comes back from the buffet with a plate of what looks like tiny chicken legs and he proudly shows them off to Justin.

“Look! They’ve got the world's smallest chicken here!” Dereck exclaims, popping a whole one into his mouth.

Justin thinks it wise to not inform him that they aren't chicken legs, but rather, frog legs.

Dinner passes by quickly and Justin is satisfied much sooner than Derek and he find himself watching the blond eat. Derek inhales his food, Justin observes, and does it with much gusto. He brings back several plates at once and devours it all before rushing back out to get more.

“Wow, I’m stuffed,” Derek says when he’s finally finished eating.

Justin chuckles and tosses a toothpick at him. “You have stuff stuck to your teeth,” he says and Derek flashes him a teeth-showing grin, complete with the broccoli stuck between his front teeth.

“You hardly ate,” Dereck accuses. Cocking his head sideways in a smirking grin that only he could accomplish.

“You ate too much,” Justin shoots back.

Derek pats his belly and belches satisfyingly. Justin rolls his eyes and gets up from his seat. “Come on,” he says as he grabs Dereck by the arm and dragging him out of his chair. “Let’s go. You’re going to be fat at the rate you’re eating.”

“Hey! Will not!” Derek says, making a face. “At least, I don’t think so. I exercise a lot! And I mean a lot! Do you have any idea how many drills we have to do as firefighters on active duty? When we have nothing to do, we spend hours training. Hours! I spend more time sleeping in the hospital than I do at home!”

“That just means you need to train more,” Justin says simply as he slides out a large bill from his pocket and hands it over to the server at the cash register. Derek's eyes nearly bulge out of his skull when he sees the bill and he turns around, discreetly looking into his green coin purse. There’s a few crumpled bills and some jangling of coins, but aside from that, Justin can tell there’s not much of monetary value in there.

The server hands Justin his change and he leaves behind a generous tip before following Derek out of the restaurant.

It’s nearly sundown now and the sky is awash in violets and red. The terrible heat of the day is receding and a cool night breeze blows welcomed through the city. There are people out roaming the streets and setting up the night market; Suna may be a village in the desert, but its inhabitants knows how to work with the fluctuating temperature. During the day, most people stay indoors. When it’s cooler, the people come out and put out their wares, lighting candles and setting bright lanterns out to light up the streets.

“Justin,” Derek whispers and Justin’s head snaps up to look at him.

He says nothing and returns the stare that Derek's leveling at him. The blond reaches out and lightly touches Justin’s shoulder, but at the touch, Dereck shudders and snaps out of whatever trance he was in. “Er, sorry,” he says, turning pink. “You, um, had a bug on your shoulder.”

Justin knows that is absolutely not true, but he lets it slide.

“Let’s walk,” Justin says.

They do walk; past the markets and towards the great canyon walls that surround Suna. It’s the outskirts, but Justin feels selfish at the moment. He only wants Derek's attention to himself.

The wind is calming and cool, sending sand and dust up from the ground. It’s getting dark, but the skylight is still enough for Justin to make out the features on Derek's face and the crisp lines of Derek's clothes.

“Hey, Justin?”

He looks over to Derek and finds the expression he’s met with is serious and determined. The usually light blue eyes that Justin’s has come to recognize and become so fond of are awash with inner turmoil and emotion, even though Derek is desperately trying to hide behind a dramatic mask.

“Do you really have someone that you like?” he asks shyly.

“Yes,” Justin answers without hesitation. “There is someone.”

Derek's serious expression slowly melts into glumness. “Oh,” he says. “Oh.”

“You like someone too,” Justin states because Derek's been a bit thick headed all day and can’t catch a hint if it danced in front of him naked.

“Well, yeah, but the person I like doesn’t like me,” Derek says, his voice catching in his throat. He looks like he’s about to cry and Justin smiles as gently as he knows how.

“Have you asked?” Justin asks, stepping closer to Derek and taking his hand. “Have you properly asked?”

“No,” Derek says and he sounds confused. “Why are you—”

“I like you,” Justin says in an almost whisper and the wind nearly catches it and takes it away. He watches as Derek stills, nearly becoming stone, but he can feel Derek's pulse beating faster and faster. The words he uttered hang between them and the sands around them.

Derek is slow to come to his senses. “You…did you just say what I think you did?”

“I like you,” Justin repeats firmly. “Are you hearing impaired now?”

Derek shakes his head violently. “N-No! Of course not! I’m just—when did—I thought you—”

Justin wordlessly slides closer to Derek until they’re chest to chest and he slides a hand to cup the back of Derek's head and brings their lips together for an impromptu kiss. Derek looks stunned at the action. And a little pink.

“You talk a lot,” Justin states and he feels rather than sees Derek's hand against his cheek, a thumb brushing against the edge of his lips.

Derek doesn’t hesitate to kiss him again, smooth and sweet, lips on lips. “I’m dreaming,” he says as he pulls inches away. He looks every inch a happy fool, a grin plastered to his face and his eyes shining bright. “I am so dreaming! Holy crap, why didn’t you tell me sooner? I couldn’t stop thinking about you for months, Justin, months! And damn it, I have no idea how Kankuro found out, but I had to deal with so much teasing from him!”

Justin stops the impulse of rolling his eyes, though he’s not entirely sure that he’s stopped the twitching of his eye. Of course Alex would torture Dereck mercilessly with that info.

“Hey, then who are the fancy chocolates from?”

Justin blinks. “Chocolates?”

“You know, the ones on your desk back at your office?” Derek says, using his hands to measure out the dimensions of the box.

“Oh,” Justin says as he realizes what Derek's talking about. “Those. Sarah put them there.”

Derek looks shocked for a moment and then starts to blush again. “I didn’t think—Oh man, kill me now,” he mutters and Justin watches in fascination as the tip of Derek's ears turn red.

“No, I don’t think so,” Justin says and he smirks. “If you must know, I don’t like sugary things. Chocolates are not to my tastes.”

“You sly, conniving—”

Justin growls impatiently. “Stop talking,” he says. “Or I’ll break up with you.”

“Whoa! We’re together? Like, together together? Not that I mind, since I, um, really like you too, so—”


“Oh, right. Shutting up.” Derek said, and blushed a bit.

Their fingers entwined in a messy hand-holding ball. But Derek didn't care. He finally got what he always wanted. They had been walking in silence for minutes, but it felt like hours to them.

Justin stopped walking, he turned Derek towards him. “Promise me that you will never leave?” He said in a soft, scared voice.

“What made you think that i’ll ever let you go?” Derek said. A smile spread across both of their faces. And they sat silently, hand in hand, on the front steps of Justin’s office. Waiting for the next day to come so they could be together longer.

When Derek leans in close, his bright blue eyes shining in the near darkness, Justin would have to remember to thank his sister.


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