Actions

Work Header

the sun, the sea (and us in between)

Work Text:

I.

Chiaki isn’t expecting anything but the usual when he enters the practice room, sweating a little from how quickly he ran from class to get here. The usual being him practicing on his own, belting out his favorite tokusatsu theme songs, trying to figure out what rhythm would work well in an idol song. The old songs won’t do. The Ryuseitai of the past is gone, the one he joined as a first year with a heart full of hopes and dreams, gone along with them. This new one he’s formed is messy, built with shaky hands, holding onto a thin rope with a partner who he’s not even sure wants to be here or not.

No matter. Chiaki can endure, has endured, and will continue to endure, even if he has to lift Ryuseitai alone onto his back with nothing else to support it.

Muttering that mantra to himself - - Endure, Ryusei Red, endure it - he opens the door, only to pause at the sound of music softly floating through the air. It’s the original Yumenosaki song and it makes his chest twinge at the painful reminder that Ryuseitai is not five, but a tiny two, red tugging blue along with him.

Blue is currently sprawled on the floor, right next to the stereo. Chiaki approaches quietly, no easy feat for this dynamic hero, to see that Kanata is fast asleep, snoring in a soft, funny way. He wants to laugh, he’s never seen him like this, but then he notices the sweat drying on Kanata’s forehead, his shirt soaked with it.

Huh. He really has never seen him like this.

He takes a look around and sees scuff marks on the floor. Realization dawns on him slowly. Ah. The ache in his chest disappears at the thought of Kanata dancing - dancing! Shinkai Kanata, a fish out of water, dancing! - enough to work up this sweat, enough to leave marks on the floor.Ahhh!

It’s hard to resist the urge to shake his unit mate awake to hug him with joy, but not even Chiaki wants to disturb his slumber. Instead he sits on his haunches next to him, staring at Kanata’s slumbering face, placid and calm. He doesn’t understand him at all, this strange partner he’s found for himself, who says things that go right over his head and stares at him with discerning, mellow eyes leaving Chiaki with goosebumps on his skin. He can hardly believe it. Shinkai Kanata, who had never shown any interest at all in practice when Chiaki brought it up, always murmuring something about the “sea’s call” and sinking further into the water, slipping through Chiaki’s fingers like he was water himself.

But he’s here now. Isn’t he? Chiaki pinches his arm lightly, just in case this is all a fever dream.

He winces before letting out a breathy laugh. Definitely not a dream. His gaze wanders back to Kanata, eyes narrowing on the red of his cheeks and the bead of sweat traveling down his neck. Unconsciously, his arm reaches out, gently brushing the pads of his fingers against Kanata’s skin.

He’s real, he’s here. Chiaki can touch him and he won’t dissolve into a puddle. He feels a strange mix of relief and elation at this truth, solid and warm before him.

Quietly, he shrugs his jacket off and drapes it over Kanata’s resting form before taking a seat beside him and pulling out his notebook, filled with his messy scrawled lyrics. Of justice, of heroes, of friendship. Every intimate, conflicting feeling pulled straight from his chest onto the page.

When Kanata wakes, they can sing together.

 

 

II.

Kanata doesn’t care too much for school activity. Going to class, talking with his classmates… there were so many things ‘required’ of him. Living on the land is so exhausting. He’d rather be soaking in the sea..

“Shinkai, watch out!”

As he said, living was exhausting.

“Oh,” is all Kanata is able to articulate before the ball comes flying right at his face. There’s an alarmed chorus of yells from his classmates as he falls over, eyes stinging and nose aching. He brings his hand to his nose and pulls his fingers away to see red.

This is...Chiaki’s color… he thinks dazedly to himself while everyone collectively begins to panic at the sight of blood.

“You’re more delicate than I thought,” the Red Ogre is standing over him with a concerned expression. “Should I escort you to the nurse?”

Kanata bristles a little. He is not delicate. His classmates, swarming him and looking green at just a little blood are the delicate ones. Paper thin skin and weightless bones, Kanata could dig his teeth in and drag them into the depths of the water.

He looks at the blood again. Chiaki’s color. A smile spreads on his face, one that has the others backing away from him. “It is ‘fine.’ I can...escort myself.” Kanata pushes himself off the ground, waving a little to his dumbfounded classmates. He can tell Chiaki about this next time he sees him. Before he did not bother to exchange words with anyone he didn’t have any interest in but lately, even though it’s a pain, he finds it easier to talk to others. He’s so used to Chiaki, chattering away, endless hot excitement, that the words just bubble out of him without a second thought.

“Stupid Chiaki…” he muses to himself as he slides the door open. Empty as expected, the drunkard of a school nurse as unreliable as always. “I’m coming in~” His voice echoes in the quiet. No matter. He just needs to clean up the blood and be on his way.

Even though the nurse is absent, one of the beds is occupied so Kanata searches for a bandage carefully, not wanting to make too much noise. As he presses a cotton swab to his nose, he notices a familiar flash of red hanging off the bed.

Chiaki’s ridiculous sneakers, attached to rest of Chiaki’s ridiculous body.

Kanata lets out a hum, abandoning his bandage, drifting over to where Chiaki lies, a cool cloth placed on his head. Fever…? Kanata wonders to himself, reaching out to touch with the tip of his finger. He jerks back immediately, Chiaki’s skin burning even more than usual.

“Stupid Chiaki,” he murmurs again, lifting the cloth to switch it to the cooler side and placing it back. Chiaki does not stir. It is strange to see him like this, his vivid and loud aura temporarily muted. The Chiaki he’s used to is a sun storm, flaring bright and burning all in his path. Kanata is still recovering from the burns Chiaki’s grip left on his hands, on his heart, the skin scabbing over and peeling to be fresh and new.

It is not that Kanata dislikes being with Chiaki, even though it is difficult and sometimes painful. Chiaki is too bright, he doesn’t notice how his shine overwhelms the people around him. But Kanata is compelled to stay, by the vow they made to each other with uncertain but hopeful hearts. More than that, he cannot turn his face away from the sun.

Chiaki still doesn’t understand him, he knows this in the furrow of his brow and the questions in his eyes whenever he speaks. But still, Chiaki extends his hand to him anyway with a warm shout “Let’s go Kanata! and Kanata can’t refuse him any longer.

Staring at him now, an entirely new Chiaki, Kanata doesn’t recognize this dim expression. Perhaps he is intruding on something he shouldn’t bear witness to. But even the sun has to set and hide its face from others. This, Kanata can understand.

He pulls up a chair and settles next to him. There’s no need to return to class.

 

 

III.

More than half of the time, Kanata is never in his classroom. All of second year, Chiaki would burst into his classroom with a boisterous "Is Kanata in?!" until Sena had snapped back with a vicious "He's never here, moron."

Now Chiaki knows better, jogging away from Nagumo's classroom with a full heart and light feet. At least he can rely on the first years to stay in their classrooms. Ah, first years! Juniors! Comrades! Excitement is rushing through his body at the thought of Ryuseitai being complete once again, a force dedicated to protecting and saving the innocent! He just wants to jump and shout out in joy but first, he needs to tell Kanata.

It's a warm sunny day, spring at its finest, the season of fresh beginnings, so of course Kanata would be in the fountain. For a moment, Chiaki worries about Kanata ditching school completely to go to the sea but that worry dissipates when he sees the familiar tip of his head bobbing slowly in the water. He rushes over excitedly.

"Kanata guess wh - hey what are you doing?! Don't sleep here!"

Kanata is motionless, his whole body practically submerged in the water with just his head poking out. Panic swells up in Chiaki as he grabs Kanata's soaked shoulders and pulls him up into a sitting position. "Hey, Ryusei Blue! Get a hold of yourself!" Chiaki shakes his shoulders carefully but firmly but to no avail - Kanata's head is slumped over and his eyes remain closed.

"For the love of sentai," Chiaki grumbles to himself as he uses all his strength to tug Kanata out of the water. "You're a fool, you know that?"

Kanata lets out a little snore.

Chiaki ends up propping him against his shoulder, his blazer draped over Kanata’s shoulders to help him dry. He can’t very well carry him away, and he doesn’t want to disturb his sleep either, so he waits for Kanata to wake, tapping his foot impatiently.

He doesn’t last five minutes in the silence, words spilling out despite himself. “Kanata, guess what! I found him, our fifth member! Now Ryuseitai is fully formed!” Chiaki lets out a happy noise, looking up into the sky. He can hardly believe this is real, the moment he’s spent days preparing for, waiting for, hoping for. It’s here.

His gaze drops down to his hands. “I’m… so happy but you know… it’s kind of scary too, isn’t it?” He lets out a weak laugh, fingers curling into fists, stomach dropping at the change in his mood. I’m really Ryusei Red...aren’t I? It would be easy to unload all the unease that’s been submerged under the excitement, his fear of failure and worry of expectations, especially to his slumbering comrade, but he bites his tongue. Now’s not the time to be down! Heroes aren’t weak like this! How can he lead Ryuseitai like this?

But it’s hard not to think of the negatives. What if the first years don’t like him? What if he’s actually an incompetent captain? What if he gets abandoned aga -

Immediately, he can hear Kanata’s voice breaking through in his mind. “Chiaki. You are not alone anymore. I am ‘here’ aren’t I?”

Chiaki closes his eyes. That’s right. He isn’t alone, not anymore, even more so now with new recruits. Besides, Kanata has saved him countless times already, hasn’t he? Just by staying with him.

Just then, Kanata starts to slide precariously off the edge. “Whoa there!” Chiaki wraps an arm around his waist to steady him and brings his head to rest on his shoulder. His hair is damp, soaking through Chiaki’s shirt. Chiaki absently brushes his hair back, fingers skimming against chilled skin. Worried that he’ll catch a cold, Chiaki pulls his blazer around him even tighter.

It would be nice if his faux second-in-command wouldn’t endanger himself so much, but his protests always fall on deaf ears. He’s noticed though - Kanata responds more to him now, even if he seems spaced out most of the time. Smiles more, laughs more— genuine ones, too. His words come slowly, but they make more sense compared to those of the stone-faced slight of a boy whose hand had been freezing when he slowly placed it in Chiaki’s.

Curious, he rests his hand gently over Kanata’s. At that moment, all other thoughts flee his mind. It’s just the two of them, Kanata’s soft breathing and the steady thumping of his heart the only sounds drumming in his ears.

It’ll be fine. As long as Kanata stays with him, he knows everything will be fine.

Kanata’s hand is just warm enough.

 

 

IV.

It's not unusual for Chiaki to be late to practice, sometimes charging in at the last minute and yelling something about a new job. But today it's almost been an hour and the children are getting restless, shifting on their feet and turning to look at the clock with frowns. Kanata hums as he stretches. He is not worried about Chiaki but the duty to go fetch him naturally falls on him, doesn’t it? What a pain. Chiaki is useless without him.

"Tetora, Shinobu, Midori," he calls out softly blinking in bemusement when all three of them turn to him immediately at attention. “Perhaps today… you should do ‘individual’ practice. I must ‘rescue’ our hopeless captain…”

Tetora perks up at the mention of rescue. “Leader?! Is he alright? What happened to him?!” Midori lets out a groan though Kanata can hear the undercurrent of worry as he mutters about how Chiaki does nothing but make him want to die. Shinobu looks genuinely distressed and Kanata is sure to put a calming hand on his forehead once he’s risen.

“Do not ‘worry’. Just stay here… you are all good children, yes?” They all let out an unenthusiastic “yessir” and Kanata waves at them before he exits the room, humming to himself. Kanata doesn’t care for things like ‘hierarchy’ - Chiaki has always played the senpai better than him. There’s no need to boss the juniors around. Vice-captain doesn’t really mean a lot to him, besides securing his place next to his star.

After all, his only real duty is taking care of Chiaki. Something only he can do.

Kanata isn’t really thinking when his feet lead him to 3A’s classroom but he opens the door nonetheless. It’s empty as expected at this hour, except for the person he’s looking for, snoring loudly at his desk.

It’s hard not to laugh at him so Kanata does, the sound echoing through the room as he walks over to Chiaki. Chiaki looks like a child, face smushed against the table, arms sprawled out clumsily. Kanata pulls up a chair to sit beside him, poking at his cheek. “Chiaki~ It’s not ‘nap time’ you know?” Kanata pokes him a few more times, laughing again when he notices that Chiaki’s drooling of all things. An unsightly look for the honorable hero.

Still, Kanata wouldn’t have him any other way.

He fishes around in Chiaki’s bag to find his phone, full of unread text messages and missed calls from the children. They will be upset to find practice has been cancelled, but Kanata thinks Chiaki’s rest is more important. It’s rare to see him this way, vulnerable and subdued, when he’s so used to the lively and energetic Chiaki.

Kanata sighs, lifting a hand to run through Chiaki’s hair. Their foolish leader is always one to preach about taking care of themselves - “how can we help anyone if we don’t help ourselves? - but is the first to push himself beyond his limit, hiding his burdens from the rest of them.

“Silly Captain,” Kanata chides. He knows that when Chiaki knocks out, it takes a small army to wake him, and he wonders what he would have done if Kanata hadn’t dropped by. He really is like a child, thoughtlessly following his own whims.

But he supposes that goes for the two of them. They’re still clumsy children pretending to be heroes, tripping along the path that Chiaki decided for them, dragging those three into the chaos with them. Kanata had been content to drift in this unfocused way with Chiaki for the rest of their days, but everything had changed when their cute juniors came into their lives.

Not that Kanata had thought they were all that cute at first. “I’m not good with ‘children,’” he told Chiaki wistfully back when Chiaki had excitedly told him of his successful recruiting. Chiaki, while overbearing, still had the warmth of the sun that everyone craved and even sour-faced Midori and sharp-tongued Tetora had melted under his intensity eventually. Kanata could never fit into the senpai-shaped box most of his peers could, too afraid to reach out and sully them in the same way he had been sullied.

So he hid away from their blossoming light, the first step backward he had taken in a long time.

But now things are different, he thinks, watching Tetora’s reply light up on Chiaki’s phone, “Roger Shinkai-senpai! Please chop that unreliable leader of ours!” Things have changed for him, and for them,

All thanks to Chiaki.

“Chiaki,” Kanata murmurs, moving his hand back to Chiaki’s cheek. He wonders if Chiaki even realizes the extent of his impact on others, his cheerful captain facade aside. “Do you think I’ve become a ‘good senpai?’”

Do you think I’ve become a proper hero? Is it okay… to still be beside you?

A soft snore is the only response. Kanata sighs. Typical.

Kanata moves next to Chiaki, placing his arms on the desk and resting his head. Here he’s close enough to feel Chiaki’s breath on his face, warming up his skin.

He closes his eyes. Maybe in his dreams he can think of the right words to describe the floaty feeling in his chest whenever Chiaki is near.

 

V.

The adrenaline that comes after finishing a live always gives Chiaki an extra rush as he gathers his unit in a circle, slick with sweat and panting, their shaking arms over each other’s shoulders. “Ryuseitai!” he bellows with glee. “Mission complete!”

“Yeah!” his rangers answer him loudly, his heart swelling as he looks at each of their faces. Exhausted ruddy cheeks with bright shining eyes, a unified sense of pride radiating from all of them. Overwhelmed, he tugs the one closest to him - Shinobu - in a hug, squeezing him tight.

“We did it!”

Shinobu squirms weakly in his hold. “T-Taichou-dono please don’t squeeze me with all your strength! I’ll most certainly die, de gozaru!”

I’m the one that wants to die,” Midori grumbles, stepping out of the circle and collapsing against the wall. “I don’t think...I can feel my legs…”

Tetora staggers next to his unit mate. “Ah, we have to save Sengoku-kun… Midori-kun? Don’t fall asleep here! Hey!”

A familiar chop on his head has him releasing Shinobu who scrambles to his fellow first years for safety. “Chiaki,” Kanata scolds. “The children have ‘played’ enough already. Let them rest.”

Chiaki scratches the back of his head sheepishly. “Ah… I’m sorry Kanata. I’m just so happy, right now!”

Kanata laughs at him. “Silly… you are not the ‘only’ one you know.”

Chiaki stares at him, his usually pale skin flushed with color, the fruit of their efforts. Living proof that they went out on that stage and sang together for an audience that wanted to see them, glowsticks and banners and everything. It’s more than Chiaki even imagined for him. For them. The gravity of what they’ve just accomplished hits him like a meteor, the weight staggering and red-hot.

“...Chiaki, are you ‘crying’?”

He rubs his eyes with his sleeve hurriedly. “Haha! I was so touched by our juniors’ performance out there, tears just came to my eyes!” Chiaki’s voice cracks on the last word and averts his gaze. Kanata’s eyes are too piercing, too knowing. It’s too much for him right now.

He hears Kanata hum as he walks closer to him, gently grabbing his wrist. “Chiaki.”

He grunts in response.

“The children are asleep. There’s no need to put up a ‘front.’”

Chiaki bites his lip, keeping his gaze on the floor. His shoulders begin to tremble. The meteor, it’s too much. He’s starting to crumble. Kanata’s voice, raspy from their singing, is soothing as it washes over him.

“It is okay, Chiaki. I am ‘here.’” Kanata finally takes Chiaki’s hand, clammy and rough, and intertwines their fingers. He gives a small squeeze. “See?”

Chiaki lets out a tremulous sigh, the first wave of tears falling hot on his cheek. “Yeah,” he chokes out. “Yeah.”

Wordlessly, Kanata brings Chiaki closer and Chiaki allows himself to collapse, just for one moment, resting his forehead on Kanata’s shoulder. He’s not entirely sure why he’s crying. Tears of joy, tears of sorrow. Tears of gratitude. Tears just because.

Whatever they are, Kanata accepts them all.

Chiaki is sniffing when he finally lifts his head, one minute seeming to stretch into forever. It would be nice, if he could just crawl into Kanata’s comforting embrace and just stay. “Thank you, Kanata.”

Kanata pets his head, much like he does to Shinobu when he’s perfected a flip at practice. “Mm.”

“Not uh… just for this.” Chiaki swallows. “For everything. For being with me, after all this time.”

Kanata tilts his head at him. “Shouldn’t I be the one thanking Chiaki?”

Chiaki isn’t sure if he’s imagining things, but he’s positive that Kanata’s voice hitched just then. He blinks the excess tears away. “Kanata - “ he starts to say but it’s interrupted by a sudden, uncontrollable yawn.

“It’s time for us to sleep, isn’t it ‘Hero?’” Kanata’s smiling gently at him like he always is, but there’s something different about it. Something Chiaki can’t put his finger on even though it’s making his chest ache and skin itch. Something he should know.

“But - “

Kanata is insistent. “We all ‘worked hard’ today. We did our jobs… as heroes. Now we sleep.”

Another yawn breaks out of him. The mood from earlier has dissipated. “Alright, alright.” Chiaki lets Kanata lead him to where the first years are dozing together. They can’t be here for long, soon to be kicked out by staff, but even a little rest is appreciated.

Chiaki didn’t realize how exhausted he was until Kanata pointed it out and he flops on the ground gratefully. His eyes are already closing when he pats his shoulder in invitation. “Here, Blue,” he offers tiredly. “Let’s sleep.”

If Chiaki was paying attention he would have seen the way Kanata’s face flooded with color - Chiaki’s color - and the way his mouth dropped open, like he didn’t know what to say. Maybe then, he would’ve understood the ‘something’ he had been trying to figure out earlier.

But by the time Kanata slides next to him, head on his shoulder, Chiaki is fast asleep and the moment is lost to the night.

 

 

VI.

Their senior trip creeps up on them before Kanata realizes. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom, Hasumi barking out for everyone to stay in their designated groups as they explore the market and shrine area. Chiaki appears next to him, hair tousled from the wind and cheeks red from the previous activity they’d done.

“Hi!” Chiaki is beaming at him, teeming with life. He extends his hand to him, something they had gotten accustomed to doing the past few weeks. Kanata takes it easily, their fingers lacing in a motion that’s as natural as breathing. “Shall we go?”

Kanata looks up at the sky, squinting at the sun. “Yes, we shall.”

They stop at the shrine first, Chiaki bringing them both charms to hang - “I bought some for Takamine, Nagumo, and Sengoku too!” “Chiaki… these are ‘bad’ fortunes.” “Eh?!” - and standing at the front to pray. Chiaki claps his hands together loudly before putting his hands together properly. Kanata sneaks a peek at him, his furrowed brow and concentrated face, and bites back a laugh.

A face even the gods would smile at.

When they head back, Chiaki is holding all the merchandise Kanata bought, souvenirs for the children and Souma and trinkets for the marine bio club room. His hands are too full for Kanata to hold and he wiggles his fingers aimlessly.

“Today was fun wasn’t it? We should come here every day!” Chiaki’s cheer hasn’t diminished even a little bit even as the shadows of the evening creep up on them. Distantly, Kanata remembers a time when that foolish smile would irritate him, make his skin prick from too much exposure.

Now, all he can do is smile back.

“If we came every day, we would become ‘lazy’ right?”

Chiaki makes an outraged noise. “No way! We could be heroes here! Guardians of the shrine…” he trails off, eyes going shiny. “Kanata, have I ever told you about the episode where the Gokaigers have to defend a sacred temple?!”

He has. In fact, he told him yesterday morning. Kanata punches his shoulder playfully, making Chiaki yelp in surprise.

“Tell me about it, ‘Hero.’”

The two classes have their own rooms to sleep in but Kanata drags Chiaki into his for tonight, sticking his tongue out at Keito when he protests. Chiaki doesn’t put up a fight, all too glad to continue recapping his favorite sentai episodes to Kanata. The room is actually mostly empty, 3B an odd enough group to go off on their own at night. Chiaki thinks he sees Nito curled up into a ball in the corner and mop of curly hair that’s probably Aoba.

When they lay down their futons to sleep, Chiaki realizes something crucial. “Damn, I forgot my blanket!” He had been too preoccupied talking with Kanata to remember it. “One sec, Kanata I’ll be right ba - ah?!”

Kanata seizes his arm and tugs him down in one forceful movement. “Do not ‘worry’ Chiaki… my blanket is big enough for both of us.”

Chiaki laughs weakly as Kanata pulls up the blanket around them. “Haha, what would I do without you, Blue?”

“That’s right,” Kanata parrots back, eyes lidding sleepily. Like this, he looks soft and warm, and Chiaki’s chest tightens at how much more human he looks like this, settled next to him, so close Chiaki can feel Kanata’s heart beat against his. Like he belongs there. “What would Chiaki do without me?”

Today was fun. It was a day meant to be enjoyed with their classmates but Chiaki had mostly spent it with Kanata. However, he doesn’t regret it one bit. Kanata has grown to be so important, as vital as the blood that runs through his veins, and Chiaki can’t imagine being without him.

...Ah, his brain is really going strange places now isn’t it?

He clears his throat. “Ah, but you know! You’re a lot more agreeable than you used to be, Kanata! Before you used to be like ‘ahh Chiaki what a pain’ and all that you know!” Fondly, he thinks of how Kanata used to puff his cheeks out in annoyance every day at him. “You must like me now, right?”

Well, he certainly didn’t mean to say that. But the words slip out unwittingly, like they’ve been hanging on the tip of his tongue, waiting for the moment of their release. Now that they’re out in the air, Chiaki waits for Kanata’s reply with bated, nervous breath.

Kanata blinks at him. “Like you?” he repeats slowly. Heat starts to flood Chiaki’s cheeks. “You are so… ‘silly.’ I ‘love’ you, Chiaki.”

Chiaki feels all the air leave his lungs.

“Oh,” he says weakly. His heart is pounding like a kick-drum. It feels like all the blood is rushing to his face with how hot he’s getting. He needs to say something, anything, but his head is spinning too badly to form a single thought.

And Kanata, sweet lovely Kanata, is staring at him with his knowing eyes and mysterious smile that doesn’t seem so mysterious anymore. Chiaki feels like a damn fool. He takes one shaky breath. “Kanata, I - “

“Ah,” Kanata is quick to press his index finger against Chiaki’s lips. “Chiaki I’m not ‘finished.’”

...So he says, but the way Kanata’s blood is roaring in his ears can be compared to the deafening roar of the ocean, any coherent thought drowning. Kanata’s feelings for Chiaki have always been buried at submarine level but now they’ve bubbled up, choking him and overflowing, his traitorous heart a trembling thing in his hands.

But Chiaki is waiting for him. So he speaks.

“For so long… I did not have a ‘home.’ But Chiaki let me into his even when I was an ‘unpleasant’ visitor.”

Chiaki’s eyes are glowing at him in the night and Kanata thinks he can see the entire universe in amber and gold-flecked shards. Ah, the answer was so simple all along. It was right there, waiting for them.

The two of them really are fools. But it’s because they’re fools that they’ve drifted together, isn’t it?

“Chiaki told me… he would ‘come’ to the bottom of the ocean…” Remembering now, how Chiaki asked him to stay with him after graduation, heartfelt and sincere, that he would go anywhere even if it was at the ends of the earth.

It’s the same for me, Chiaki. It ‘always’ has been.

“But if it’s ‘fine’ with Chiaki… I do not want to be anywhere else.... Except…” Kanata trails off and leans forward to place a hand on Chiaki’s chest, right over his thundering heart. The words, they’re slipping away from him. But he and Chiaki have always managed to meet halfway, building homes inside each other with shaky hands, growing steadier with each day. “Here is fine, isn’t it? Chiaki?”

Chiaki makes an undignified noise, a cross between a sob and a laugh and pulls Kanata in his arms. He’s warm and inviting as always and Kanata melts into his touch, clutching desperately at his shirt.

“Here is fine,” Chiaki’s voice comes muffled from where it’s buried in Kanata’s hair. Kanata can’t even laugh at him for crying when his own eyes are burning. Everything is burning. “Kanata, you know I would do anything for you right?”

Kanata just closes his eyes. No more words. Takes a deep breath. Counts down the seconds until Chiaki’s nose brushes against his and their mouths meet in the softest brush of a kiss. Kanata flails his hand around until it finds Chiaki’s, squeezing tight.

Here is fine.

They don’t sleep for the rest of the night.