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Gentle Comforts

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It’s been… one of those days…

 

Tendou Satori lays across his couch, blanket hanging onto one of his legs as a last ditch effort to not fall all the way on the floor.

 

He ignores it’s struggle as he flips through the TV options for the nth time. The room is dark despite it being the middle of the afternoon. A good representation of his mood at the moment. Dull. Sensitive to light.

 

Ever since waking up that morning, Satori has had no motivation. 

 

Nada. 

 

Zilch. 

 

Infinitesimal. 

 

It took him having to go to the bathroom just to get him out of bed. Before that he was in and out of consciousness since early that morning even though it’s his day off.

 

He had a craving for some fruity cereal, but ever since he crashed onto the couch, he hasn’t gotten back up for anything. It just seems like so much work…

 

Switching from one remote to another, he flips from Disney+ to Netflix, settling on picking one of his saved Korean shows at random.

 

He knows he still has to finish Abyss and Bring It On Ghost and Strong Girl Bong Soon (not to mention all the other non-Korean shows he needs to finish on both Netflix and his other streaming apps), but right now he’s gonna watch Because This Is My First Life.

 

He’s about halfway through the first episode (maybe? Korean episodes are so long he can never tell) when the sound of his phone’s ringing makes its way from his bedroom to the living room.

 

He raises his head to look at the open doorway to his bedroom, but that’s as far as he gets. The ringtone signals for a text message. It’s probably from Toshi-kun but Satori can’t bring himself to get up and grab it, let alone reply. Just thinking of replying right now sends an uncomfortable feeling rolling around somewhere between his heart and his stomach. It's a really weird feeling and if anyone asked, he wouldn’t be able to describe it. It makes replying right now seem daunting. 

 

He hesitates and wiggles farther into the couch.

 

It should be fine, he’ll get it later. Maybe tomorrow with an excuse like “I wasn’t on my phone all day so I didn’t see it” or something. The notification at the top will remind him to reply the next time he’s on it. 

 

Or eventually.

  

Toshi-kun will understand if he doesn’t message back right away. They’re chill enough for that. 

 

He’ll just… do it later

 

A few more beeps sound off before things go back to silence. He lays his head back down to continue watching his show. The main male character reminds him a bit of Toshi-kun.

 

The second episode is playing now. Things are getting interesting enough for Satori to sort of pay attention instead of zoning out into nothingness. That is, until his phone starts ringing again. 

 

A call this time. More specifically, Toshi-kun calling. Satori can tell by the silly Gummy Bear song he set up for him. It’s a classic and so un-Toshi-kun that he couldn’t help putting it as the straight faced boy’s ringtone 

 

He looks over to his bedroom again, but only for a moment this time before turning back to the show. The ringing loops three times before stopping, leaving the house to only be filled with the sound of the TV once more. 

 

Not even two minutes later, the phone sounds off again, but this time with a few more text messages.

 

Toshi-kun sure is adamant about getting a hold of him… Is it maybe something important? What if something happened?

 

The worry almost gets him off the couch, but he dismisses it. It’ll be fine. Toshi-kun is tough. Besides, there’s little chance that it could even possibly be something bad. Not to mention that if Satori went to talk right now he can feel that it’ll be incredibly hard.

 

He yanks his soot sprite blanket back off the floor and wraps it around himself. It’s not cold. If anything, he only has the blanket for the little bit of safety and comfort it can give him. Maybe he should’ve brought his One Piece one out too for an extra boost. Thinking back on it doesn’t do him any good now. Going to his room would mean also being able to grab his phone and that leads to the obligation to reply.

 

Satori really doesn’t want to interact with anyone today. Something in his chest tightens at the concept of social interaction right now. 

 

He’s not always like this. Most of the time, he’s a social moth (yeah, he knows the saying is Butterfly, but he’s too much of a weasel face to be pretty enough for that, so Moth is close enough), but sometimes… he has these… off days. Days where he can’t bring himself to interact with people. Days where he distances himself from everyone. Days where he wished he had some sort of cupboard he could curl up in. Shut himself up in a cramped dark space and just let himself be engulfed by the silent void.

 

If his closet was big enough, he’d already be there. Sadly, it had too much stuff thrown into it and making a hole for himself was too much of an effort.

 

Satori drifts in and out of consciousness for two more episodes (maybe? It might’ve just been one, the concept of time eludes him and these damn korean show episodes always seem twice as long as other national ones).

 

He’s pulled out of a doze when there’s a knock on his small apartment’s door. He has two choices of who could possibly be at the door. No one comes to visit Satori other than his landlady and Toshi-kun. Hopefully it's the landlady. That way he knows for sure she’ll just knock a few more times before leaving him alone.

 

Luck is not on his side today, though. Another knock, but this time followed by a questioning, “Satori?”

 

Definitely not the landlady. 

 

Toshi-kun is dampened from the distance between the couch and the other side of the door, but Satori can still hear the concern undertones. His nose burns, his eyes water, and a distinct feeling of nausea builds at the back of his throat.

 

Maybe he’ll go away if there’s no answer.

 

No, Toshi-kun isn’t like that. And he knows where the spare key is hidden. (wedged into a crease in the top edge of the door frame out of sight from anyone shorter than 7 foot 2)

 

“Satori, I can hear the TV. You don’t leave it on when you’re not home, so I know you’re in there somewhere.” 

 

It’s muffled, but clearly a threat to come in whether he answers the door or not. 

Satori uses all of the effort he can muster to stand and shuffle to the door, keeping the blanket wrapped warmly around his shoulders. 

 

He can feel the unmistakable, yet indescribable feeling of anxiety bubbling up beneath his skin. His arms, under his collar bone, up the sides of his neck, all tingling with the sensation. The nausea is at the top of his throat. His mouth waters and he’s afraid that if he breathes too heavily he might hurl. But he won’t. He never does. That doesn’t save him from the feeling of almost .

 

Toshi-kun stands tall on the other side of the door. He’s wearing his comfy clothes, his gym bag tossed over one shoulder and a grocery bag in each hand.

 

Neither of them say a word as Satori lets him in. He goes straight to the little kitchen separated from the livingroom by a bar and wall column to set down the groceries. His gym bag then gets set against the wall. 

 

Before Satori knows it, he’s wrapped in a pair of warm arms and pressed against a solid chest. 

Toshi-kun’s shirt smells newly washed and his arms smell like the generic soap at the gym with a hint of his usual aloe scent. This alone makes Satori’s muscles relax and lets him sink into the embrace. It smells of home. His nose burns again and his lower lip trembles against his will.

 

“I was afraid it might be one of those days when you didn’t answer your phone all day.” Satori nods to confirm what the other man already guessed. “You don’t have to talk about any of it if you don’t want to, but I’m here if you do.” he says gently.

 

That’s it. That’s what does it. Hugs are always the thing that breaks him no matter how hard he’s trying to keep it together.

 

Tears try to run down his cheeks, but are soaked up by Toshi-kun’s shirt. Satori lets go of his blanket and finally wraps his arms around Toshi-kun instead. The two of them stand there in the middle of the room while Satori cries silently into Toshi-kun’s chest. The TV plays on, ignorant of his soft hiccups as he cries. He doesn’t know why he’s crying, just that he is. His entire body is taut and shuddering, jaw sore from clenching for so long. 

 

Toshi-kun doesn’t say anything. He lets Satori ride the waves out, arms wrapped protectively around him, left hand carded into the red hair just above the back of his neck, and resting his chin on top of Satori’s head.

 

After a few minutes, the tears stop and Satori is able to take deep breaths again. His body still trembles a little from the aftershocks, but his muscles have slowly released. Once Satori is breathing normally again, Toshi-kun takes it as permission to move. He leads Satori over to the couch to sit down, then goes back to the kitchen. 

 

He can be heard messing with one of the grocery bags, but Satori doesn’t have the energy to turn and see what he’s doing.

 

While he’s away, Satori tries to sniff up the snot running out of his nose, but it’s no use. He swears he has a tissue box here somewhere, but is it worth getting up to look for it? Maybe he should just use the collar of his shirt or something.

 

Before he can decide between the bottom hem, the end of his sleeve, or the inside of his collar, Toshi-kun is back. The man takes one look at him, puts the mug in his hand down, takes off his shirt, and offers it to Satori. 

 

The redhead raises a confused brow at him.

 

“It’s already dirty. Use it instead of wasting tissues,” he explains.

 

Satori huffs a laugh as he accepts the shirt. It’d normally be huffed out of his nose, but said nose is a bit stuffy at the moment, so out the mouth it is. 

 

With that settled, Toshi-kun picks the mug up again and offers it to him. It’s his tall Stitch mug sporting an orange tropical flowers pattern and a grumpy looking Stitch in fuzzy slippers holding a coffee mug. On the other side is the caption “I don’t do mornings” above a smashed alarm clock.

 

Inside it isn’t a drink like he expected. Instead, it’s filled to the brim with DinoBites cereal. A fruity cereal. Exactly what he had been craving earlier. A smile tugs at the corner of his lips. 

 

Toshi-kun turns away to thumb through Satori’s small DVD collection at the top of his bookshelf. The rest of the shelves are overflowing with different Manga volumes and figurines. 

 

Satori sticks his tongue into the mug, collecting some kernels of cereal like a cat. Or a dog, but he was much more like a cat than any sort of mutt.

 

A siamese one.

 

Like the ones from Lady and the Tramp.

 

Yeah that’s definitely him.

 

During his inner rambling, Toshi-kun grabs a thick case from the shelf and puts in the first CD of the set held inside.

 

It isn’t until Toshi-kun sets the case on the coffee table that he sees it’s the first four seasons of Doctor Who.

 

Nine and Ten were his favorite doctors. Well, Rose was technically his favorite DW character with Donna and River being close seconds, but when it came to doctors, Nine and Ten were the best. A lot of fellow DW fans that know him usually mistake him for an Eleven fan, which, he likes all of the doctors, but he prefers Nine and Ten’s story and character arcs.

 

But once again his thoughts are running off without his permission.

 

Toshi-kun has already sat down next to him and hit play for the first episode. He doesn’t pay much attention to it. He zones out, snacking on artificial flavored grain and gluing himself to Toshi-kun’s side in order to best absorb the man’s presence.

 

He still feels an unfillable void of numbness inside of him (right below his heart, but above his stomach, his diaphragm maybe? Anatomy was never his best class in highschool), but having Toshi-kun there with him makes it easier to endure until the feeling goes back into it’s little cage for a while.

 

He’ll eventually be okay. And if he isn’t, that’s alright. 

 

As Toshi-kun told him before: It’s okay to not be okay .