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Beauty in the Breakdown

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It’s not a big surprise that, when confronted with a pale, fatigued, and likely very sick-looking Takumi, even Keisuke won’t accept Takumi’s insisting that yes, he is completely fine and there is nothing to worry about. No insomnia, no lack of joy and motivation and drive to do anything. Takumi feels that his body is painfully tense, but he just can’t manage to relax. Not in front of Keisuke, who was the last person he wanted to be this weak in front of.

“Shit, you’re probably the most chill person I know. Seeing you on edge like this is pretty distressing,” Keisuke states, oblivious to his internal struggle. He lets out another quiet curse and steps closer.

“Your hands are shaking.”

Takumi looks down out of reflex. Huh. He didn’t even notice. But yes, his hands are really shaking, and quite badly so. Takumi stares, somewhat fascinated with the sight.

Then two hands that do not belong to him block his line of sight and close around his trembling fingers. ‘Warm,’ he thinks, mildly surprised, until the events catch up to him. Then the surprise turns to shock. His head shoots up; he gapes at Keisuke who is just standing there, hands covering Takumi’s, and staring right back.

“I don’t know what’s going on with you, but you need to snap out of it.”

Takumi hears the words and they make the fog in his head clear a little. He shakes his head angrily. “How am I supposed to snap out of it?”, he asks, but feels bad when Keisuke looks taken aback at his little outbreak. ‘Great job,’ Takumi thinks and hates himself a bit – again. Keisuke probably has no clue what’s going on, but it’s not like Takumi knows, either. The only thing he knows is that he’s not working the way he’s supposed to lately.

He wants to pull away his hands, but somehow the way Keisuke steadies them feels… nice. Takumi lets his hands remain where they are. Keisuke doesn’t pull his hands back, either.

“It’s not the race, is it?”, he asks. He doesn’t wait for Takumi to answer before continuing, “What is it?”

Takumi shakes his head again, more desperate and tired than angry. “Don’t know,” he mumbles. He doesn’t want to talk to Keisuke of all people about all the different ways he’s fucked up.

“C’mon, Fujiwara,” Keisuke says and finally lets go of Takumi’s hands, which very much makes the latter mourn the loss. The period of mourning is cut short when Keisuke instead takes a step closer, visibly hesitating for a second before wrapping his arms around Takumi. Oh. Well, that feels… even better.

“Gimme a hint. What’s going on?”, he asks, so close to Takumi’s ear that the latter tenses involuntarily. With his face pressed against his teammate’s shoulder, Takumi resists the urge to just melt into the embrace and have a complete breakdown. He’s so confused right now; there’s this battle inside him between the side that wants to just stay like this and the side that shouts at him to get away as fast as possible before ugly truths spill out of his mouth.

But Keisuke’s presence is as comforting as it is scary, and so the first side wins for now.

“I just- I don’t feel well,” Takumi tries to explain what he doesn’t understand himself, words muffled by the fabric of Keisuke’s sweater. It sort of smells nice, and Takumi feels like he is sort of losing his mind.

“If that means you’re feeling sick, please don’t puke on me.” Keisuke’s attempt at a joke sounds a bit forced, but he doesn’t let go and Takumi still has to chuckle a little. This situation is so surreal. Takahashi Keisuke, standing here and hugging him. Maybe he’s actually dreaming. That would be another really cruel prank of his mind to play on him.

Keisuke remains silent for a bit when Takumi doesn’t say anything else.

“I know I’m shitty at stuff like this. But if there’s some way I can help…”

‘Staying like this for a while would be nice,’ Takumi thinks. He doesn’t dare to say it out loud, but he wordlessly raises his arms and tentatively returns the embrace. Keisuke reacts by somewhat awkwardly patting his back.

“Shit, Fujiwara. I’m really getting worried, you know.”

“Don’t,” Takumi replies quietly, “It’s not worth getting worried over.”

Because he is so close to Keisuke, he can feel the other twitch in reaction to his words before he tightens the embrace.

“Don’t say that. You’re- Oh for fuck’s sake, you’re important to me, Fujiwara.” He pauses. “Don’t you dare tell anyone I just said that.”

Takumi is so dumbfounded that he forgets to promise not to tell. And then it’s like the words made a dam break, because now he actually falters and clings to Keisuke with all his might and starts sobbing into his sweater.

“Hey. Shh. It’s okay. It’s gonna be okay. Shit…”

Takumi can hear in his voice that he’s at loss about what to do. But that’s okay, because he’s here and he’s not leaving even though Takumi’s being a complete fuck-up and currently wetting his clothes with his ugly tears.

“If it helps, we can stay like this,” Keisuke suggests hesitantly. Takumi nods.

“Thank you,” he says. Nothing more, but Keisuke understands and presses him closer. And maybe, maybe this is fine.