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There's frost on the ground outside of the dorms, and Musa wonders if it will be gone before the end of class. It's been more than brisk lately, and any treks across the greenery of campus every morning have been met with a crunching noise he's not sure he dislikes. Crisp. It's been that way for the past week. Nico warns the younger members of the team that the coldsnap is characteristic for the time of year, and the morning temperatures will stay that way for the rest of the month. Haiji warns them to dress with more layers, warm up for longer, and stretch gentler to compensate for the chill.


Everyone in the dorm focuses on their studies with renewed vigor now that the marathon is over and the next round of tests are soon to begin. Morning practice doesnt stop though. The team makes time, somehow, for the thing that brought them together. Musa doesn't think he's been quite this close with anyone but family. Maybe it's to be expected. They've lived with eachother for the past year. Graduates aside, they'll be living in Chikuseisou for the rest of college. He feels differently now that their goal has been accomplished. Their dynamic will change with the Seniors leaving them all for stable jobs. Graduation, employment, things that Musa feels obligated to think about, even as he sips drinks with the rest of them-- supposedly unwinding. But it's become an interesting balance between the plans he's following and the plans he's making.


Musa has not been single-minded up to this point in his life, just diligent. His family once called him stable, and he can kind of see what they meant, but being around the others makes him want a future he didn't even know about this time last year. Haiji was a force of nature that way, and Kakeru was the strangest, most mercurial enabler possible. Musa wants this team. Even if it isn't the current lineup, their winning formula, he still wants to be with them until he graduates. Even if it were just to see what they could achieve. Another two years of this place and these people.

 

Shuffling towards his first class in the chill morning air, he thumbs at the edge of his phone in the pocket of his coat, and considers the call he had partway through Hakone.


Shindo had gotten better in the first week after the end of the race, bouncing back surprisingly quickly, but was thrown into schoolwork with everyone else. The two of them have yet to make good on their promise, but it doesn't really ring like a problem. A year, Musa muses, We have an entire year.


But Musa doesn't want just a year.


It isn't a revelation. He's known for a long while now. Maybe since they were just friends, he's known that their tie was something to keep. It's been different recently. Since their call during the marathon, he supposes that it's been different yet. There was something unsaid in Shindo's request, and Musa has already acquiesced to whatever this depth of feeling between them is. Shindo hasn't asked what they are. Neither has Musa.


He thinks, Maybe we both know.


But they do still need to talk about it.


There are specifics to what Musa is looking for, not just in some sort of relationship, but to Musa's entire future. I want to write articles that actually help people. I want my own flat, not just a room. An entire bathroom to myself. I want marriage, or some degree of formal commitment. I would like a family someday.

They are clear goals.

They don't fade away when he sees an overlarge sweater-decked Shindo across the campus, heading into a different building. Though, his thoughts certainly get squishier in his head, perhaps to accommodate the space now being taken up by, I want him.


Because he does.


He doesn't want a year, or two. He's not willing to compromise on his plans, but he'd made room for running, what was another unforseen venture?


He wonders if seeing the snow with Shindou can be a plan; if he can make it a plan every year, for as long as possible.