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The Umbrella Story

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Furihata closed the door behind him with a sigh. It’s been almost two hours and he was still nervous as hell. He needed air. Fresh air. 

He pulled out his phone from his pocket and texted his companion. Informing him that he would be waiting outside. Also telling him to take his time, as long as he needed.

Furihata smiled to himself. His companion seemed to adore the little bookshop. Which was his recommendation. Those eyes were practically sparkling. And Furihata considered that as an achievement. A huge one, to be honest.

He looked up to the sky. Grey. Dark. He furrowed his brows, not liking the sight at all. It was about to rain soon. His nervousness began to cease, replaced by something akin to gloom. It hadn’t been raining for weeks, and nature decided today, of all days, was the right time to pour water over Tokyo? How convenient.

Furihata hated it.

He took a step back, when the rain started hitting the ground. The roof above him was pretty wide, so he didn’t have anything to worry about.

With nothing to do, he observed what was happening around him. People were running. They scampered all over, searching for shelter. 

Well, not all. Some of them looked unbothered. They continued walking as if nothing happened, which was pretty hardcore, in his opinion. Then some others..

Furihata locked his attention on two people, located not too far from him. A guy and a girl. Teenagers, maybe around his age? They looked like they were having a great time, if those giggles were any indication. The guy held the girl’s hand as they walked, his other hand holding an umbrella obviously not big enough for two.

.. An umbrella.

Something Furihata realized he didn’t have.

 


 

“Oh shoot, it’s raining. Do you bring an umbrella, Furi?” Shinagawa asked him.

Furihata gave his best friend a cheeky grin, while pulling out a dark, almost black umbrella from his bag. “‘Course.”

“Ugh, there’s no need to be smug about that.” Shinagawa punched his shoulder. Furihata laughed. “Should I just run..?” He wondered aloud. They both looked outside at the same time then. There was a lightning strike. “Yeah, not happening.” Shinagawa decided.

Furihata patted his shoulder, giving him a sympathetic look.

Shinagawa rolled his eyes at this obvious act of mocking him, before his eyes widened, seemingly remembering something. “Hey, you don’t have practice today right?”

Furihata shook his head negatively. “Not today, no.”

“Excellent, this means Kuroko would be in the library. I want to borrow a book he told me the other day.”

“Yeah, he should be there,” Furihata confirmed. Shinagawa, who was also a member of the library committee, was pretty close to Kuroko as well. If only they both were in the same class and Shinagawa loved basketball as much as he loved football, Furihata was certain they would be best friends. Just like how Furihata and Shinagawa were very close because they lived near each other and went to the same middle school. 

“Alright, I’ll go and wait for the rain there then. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Shinagawa began walking in the direction of the library.

Furihata gave him a small wave. “See you tomorrow, Shina. And please stop bothering Kuroko with your many Shakespeare theories. He was so fed up.

Shinagawa looked back, wagging his finger. “Again, not happening.”

Furihata chuckled. State of that guy. He was practically the only person who could annoy Kuroko to the point the annoyance actually showed on his face. Kuroko was fond of the guy though, just like Furihata was. Shinagawa was the only member of the library committee who looked like he didn’t belong there. All the members were quiet and there he was, loud and had traits of a standup comedian. Kind of reminded him of Izuki, but more absurd.

Shinagawa was friendly to everyone. Always radiate happiness everywhere he went. He was never hostile.

Well, almost.

There were two people he hated in school. One girl, who went to the same middle school as them, and one guy, who was his captain in the football club.

It was kind of ironic though. He hated them not because they did something wrong to him specifically, but because they did something to Furihata, while not even Furihata hated them that much. And Furihata felt guilty. To plant such hatred in his otherwise, super kind friend, was something he wished he never did.

Speaking of people that Shinagawa hated, Furihata just spotted one of them, just outside the school entrance.

Endo Eri.

The girl who went to the same middle school as them. The girl Shinagawa put on the top of his imaginary blacklist.

Also the girl who Furihata was in love with, for the last two years.

He supposed he could also call her his ex-girlfriend (they did date for a short time).

The girl that he confessed to, at the start of high school. The confession that he prepared for far too long, Shinagawa didn’t think he would still be alive when the time finally came, when Furihata was finally brave enough to take a step forward. That damn drama queen (or king, whatever).

Also the girl that asked him to be the best at something when he confessed to her. Which he fulfilled by the way. He and the basketball team did become the best in the end. But of course it wasn’t enough for her. Otherwise their relationship would last longer than just a mere two weeks.

Furihata didn’t even get a chance to hold her hand.

When Endo told him she found someone better, Furihata didn’t feel his world shatter, or his heart broken a million pieces. So unlike the book he loved to read. Instead, he felt hollow and numb and empty. Furihata wished her well, but Endo didn’t return the sentiment. She also didn’t apologize. Not like she did something wrong, Furihata reminded himself, over and over. They bowed to each other and went their separate ways, all nice and friendly.

When Shinagawa found out they broke up, he was absolutely fuming. The rage so overwhelming, Furihata felt chills running down his spine. Furihata did his best to calm him down, but to no avail.

“Who? Who is better than you?!”

Up until this very second, Furihata knew that Shinagawa was still worried about him. Because he had not cried once since that time. Which must be weird, he imagined, considering how deep his feelings were for Endo.

Furihata looked at the umbrella in his hand. Did Endo forget hers? Maybe he could lend her his umbrella. Furihata didn’t mind waiting for the rain. He could go to the library, and join whatever Shinagawa and Kuroko were discussing (or arguing) over this time.

So he took a step forward, preparing his best smile, only to be stopped at the sight of another person, who joined Endo at the entrance.

Hiramatsu Hiroki.

The last person on Shinagawa’s very short blacklist. Captain of the football club.

Who wasn’t the best. He and the football team lost in the semifinal of the prefecture tournament, whatever the name was. He supposed it was still impressive, considering their school was new and the football club didn’t exactly have their own Kagami, or Kuroko. Just a bunch of football nerds like Shinagawa. They were all hard workers though, Furihata admitted. Shinagawa once didn’t come home at all, just to practice his shooting, three days before the tournament started.

But Furihata understood why Endo chose Hiramatsu. He was not the very best at everything, but he was always at least in the top ten. Intelligence-wise, look-wise, and popularity-wise. 

To put it short, Hiramatsu was indeed better than Furihata as an individual. Much cooler, more attractive, better physique (read: taller than him).

So he understood.

But Furihata loved Endo, probably more than Hiramatsu, probably more than anyone. Did it not mean anything?

Furihata looked at the two of them and realized how beautiful they looked as a couple. A spark of jealousy made its way to his heart. 

This wouldn't do, so he tried to think of something else. Like how Shinagawa kept giving Hiramatsu a cold shoulder at the club with Hiramatsu not knowing the reason as to why. It was pretty funny, in a way.

It didn’t work to alleviate his pain though.

Hiramatsu opened his umbrella then, holding Endo’s hand, and pulling her closer to him. And together they walked off slowly, leaving the school ground, a blue umbrella protecting them both perfectly.

Of all the times he saw them together, Furihata thought this particular sight was the hardest one to see. He just.. couldn’t stand it, somehow. His heart thudding dully in his chest. The rain not stopping was also not helping his mood.

But maybe, he could take advantage of it.

Furihata put his umbrella back to his bag, and started to run back home. During the journey, he felt his eyes hot and everything before him looked kind of blurry. He might be crying, or he might not, but even if he was, no one would know. 

It was raining after all.

When he was home, he felt a little bit better. Well, finally. 

There was one regret, however. He really should’ve lent his umbrella to Shinagawa in the first place.

 


 

“Ah, it’s raining.” Akashi finally came out from the bookshop, bringing a plastic bag full of books.

Furihata smiled warmly, “Yeah, unfortunately. Do you bring an umbrella, Akashi-kun?” 

“I do,” Akashi answered, reaching for his bag. He pulled out a white, almost transparent umbrella. It was beautiful, Furihata never saw an umbrella quite in that color before. Looked like it was high quality as well. Must be expensive, he mused.

Furihata was relieved though, at least Akashi wouldn’t get wet now.

“I don’t bring mine, so I’m just going to run. The dessert shop is right there.” He pointed his finger to a little cafe across the road. “Pretty close, isn’t it? This one is my friend’s recommendation. He said, and I quote, ‘you won’t regret it’.” Furihata ended his explanation with a fond chuckle.

The dessert shop was actually Shinagawa’s favorite. Who was more than thrilled by the way, when Furihata asked him for advice, regarding a perfect place to visit, for his first date with Akashi.

Speaking of that guy, Furihata really should treat him something after this date, regardless of the result; whether this date would end successfully or not. He owed Shinagawa so much, a simple thank you just wouldn’t be enough, to show how grateful he was for Shinagawa’s continuous support.

After the whole thing that happened with Endo, Furihata didn’t think he would fall in love again, at least not as hard as he fell for her. But he was wrong. By some miracle, a really great guy named Akashi Seijuurou came into his life. They became close friends, as absurd as it sounded, considering how scared Furihata was of him at the beginning. Akashi stole Furihata’s heart eventually, until it became unbearable for Furihata to keep hiding his feelings.

Furihata knew, statistically speaking, his chance with Akashi was small. A lot smaller than his chance to be accepted by Endo, a long time ago. They were both guys for a start, and even if Akashi was into guys, he was so far out of Furihata’s league, there was no way Akashi would return his feelings.

But Shinagawa encouraged him to take a leap of faith. Even at the great risk of losing Akashi’s friendship. Shinagawa said, Furihata would regret it, if he didn’t try at all. Shinagawa helped motivate him after that time, went shopping for chocolates and noodles with him, making a playlist of sad songs for him to cry into. Shinagawa called it a ‘heartbreak kit’. Preparation for the worst-case scenario, he said. And it was one of the most precious things Furihata had ever gotten from his best friend.

The ‘heartbreak kit’ turned out to be unnecessary in the end, because Akashi accepted his confession. Furihata was stunned, he was sure it was all a dream. Akashi needed to stop Furihata from pinching his own hand at one point. It was quite embarrassing, to be completely honest, but Akashi’s warm smile made it better.

Shinagawa was speechless when Furihata told him that he was now officially the boyfriend of the great Akashi Seijuurou. Truth be told, Shinagawa also thought his friend was going to get rejected, the bastard. But he was happy nonetheless, that Furihata finally, finally found someone who liked him back.

Shinagawa was also weirdly happy about the fact that Furihata’s partner this time was a guy. He said, this way, he could punch him if he hurt Furihata, while still maintaining his status as a perfect gentleman. It wouldn’t be possible with girls. Furihata laughed then, just another day of Shinagawa saying something endearingly absurd.

(Also Shinagawa wouldn’t stand a chance against Akashi. Not only was he strong himself, but he also had guys like Nebuya and Murasakibara on his side. Shinagawa would be the one who ended up bruising and in jail if he ever tried. Furihata didn’t tell all of these facts to Shinagawa of course.)

For their first date, which was today, Furihata decided something simple would do. Just a little visit to Furihata’s favorite bookshop and Shinagawa’s favorite dessert shop. Akashi had agreed and now, here they were.

As Furihata zipped his jacket and put the hood over his head to prepare for his short run through the rain, Akashi opened his umbrella. “We could share if you want, you don’t have to run without protection like that.”

Furihata blinked, and blinked again. He didn’t expect the offer, like, at all. “Bu- but won’t you get wet if we share?” He asked, with genuine worry. The umbrella was not big enough for both of them.

Akashi smiled then, his eyes bright with something similar to mischief. “Not if we stay close.”

Furihata blushed instantly at that, he didn’t even get the chance to hide it. He pulled down his hood, and moved closer to Akashi until he could feel his warmth. “O- okay. Thanks.. Akashi-kun.”

“No problem,” Akashi answered simply. “Now, shall we?”

Furihata nodded, but instead of moving, he stood still, his eyes were glued to something else.

Akashi’s hand.

The memory of the couple holding hands just minutes ago flashed before his eyes, followed by an older memory of Hiramatsu and Endo, also holding hands, followed again by his own wish, that went unfulfilled a long time ago.

A wish to hold hands with someone dear to him.

He wanted it. He always wanted it. But he never got a chance. Not with Endo at least.

But this time, maybe..

Furihata was feeling strangely determined, suddenly. So he slowly moved his hand towards Akashi, before gently holding it. He waited with bated breath. Waiting for Akashi’s reaction. Is it too soon? Is it too much? Is it rude-

Akashi’s hand started to move then. From what Furihata could feel, he seemed to want to break free from the hold. Furihata’s heart dropped. He just screwed up.

Furihata released Akashi’s hand immediately, closing his eyes and trying to breathe, preparing for an awkward situation that surely would follow after his idiotic decision.

Only for Akashi to catch his hand back, and entwine his fingers with Furihata, tightly and securely.

Furihata’s heart skipped a beat at this simple act of Akashi apparently not rejecting him. He felt so.. relieved.

Also incredibly happy, obviously.

“I believe this is the right way to do it?” Akashi grinned, looking down at their hands.

Furihata could only nod dumbly, still over the moon, about this hand-holding business.

“Also, I think you should put your hood back.” He added.

Furihata blinked. “O- oh? Right, you’re right. For extra protection.” He pulled his hood over his head again, and gave Akashi a shy smile.

Akashi grinned even wider, and winked. “No, because you look cute in it.”

Furihata's already red face became even redder at this statement. He wouldn’t even be surprised if there was actual smoke coming out from his head.

As they walked together to the dessert shop, hand in hand, under one umbrella, in the middle of heavy rain (practically a dream came true), Furihata couldn’t help but think about how long this relationship would last, before Akashi eventually found someone better. 

But it didn’t matter in the end, because Furihata would always try to be the best for Akashi. He would make him happy. He would make both of them happy. It was a promise he made to himself, ever since Akashi gave him the privilege to stay by his side. And he was very determined to fulfill it.

 


 

Little did Furihata know, Akashi already made the decision. About who he thought he was going to spend the majority of his time with. It was a familiar boy with brown hair and warm eyes. Who came all the way to Kyoto just to give him a rose. He was trembling all over- hands, body, voice- when he asked Akashi to be his boyfriend.

He was timid, and so very ordinary. But he was tough, and he was brave. And at that time, Akashi thought, almost instantly:

He is the best.