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Akira isn’t one for making an effort, but there’s the odd occasion where he will gladly take up some time making himself look good. There’s someone he wants to impress, no matter how much he denies it. 

So he dressed up a little bit for the cute athlete he has plans with, digging out a pair of expensive skinny jeans and a stylish jacket he rarely had the excuse to wear, along with some makeup he had started to use when he was younger. He was self-conscious when he looked in the mirror once all was done, his hair inevitably falling into his eyes, but thanks to the makeup at least he didn’t look like a zombie. 

Now he’s outside the restaurant, twiddling his fingers waiting for him. He had given himself plenty of time in case something held him back, but he checks his phone every few seconds and nothing comes through. Over time, his heart rate increases, a flush covering every inch of his body as he thinks of where tonight will go. 

It’s their first date, although Akira feels like they’ve been together longer. They’ve hung out ever since they met by chance at the local stadium, and eventually… Well, Tsutomu apparently got the balls to ask him out on a date. A real date. Like… dinner at a fancy restaurant date. Akira can’t lie to himself that, at the time, his heart floundered gracelessly in his chest and had accepted far too fast for it to have been considered a tentative decision. 

Even now, his heart is unsettled, leaning back against the wall nearby the restaurant. The way Tsutomu had looked as he asked him, like he was looking at the most precious thing on the planet, made him feel warm as he wonders if he’ll be able to see the same expression tonight. 

After checking his phone for the last time, Akira shoves it deep into his bag to forget about until he gets home. He doesn’t want to miss Tsutomu arriving, or… anything at all about tonight. He notes that he’s way too early so shouldn’t even let the thought that he may not even show creep up on him. 

All of that doubt leaves him in a pleasant, warm rush as he spots the man in question approaching the restaurant. Quickly spotting Akira, Tsutomu’s shoulders seem to square up and he exudes an acted confidence in his walk, shooting him a wide grin as he veers toward him. “Evenin’!” Tsutomu greets cheerfully, and before Akira can get a word out, lips parting to respond, an undeniable floral scent reaches his senses before he even registers the bunch of flowers held out to him. 

Looking from the flowers up to Tsutomu’s blushing face, Akira reaches his hand out to take them, fingers curling around the thornless stalks. They’re an assorted bunch, some of which he can’t put names to, wrapped up in pastel green paper with a neat bow, one which he can imagine came from some sort of expensive flower boutique. Catching the glimmer in Tsutomu’s eyes, Akira ducks his head quickly. He can feel the heat in his cheeks, gripping them harder in his hand. 

“Good Evening, Tsutomu.” Akira responds finally, trailing his eyes back up over his face. Despite his lack of reaction to the flowers like one may expect, Tsutomu still wears a satisfied smile for which Akira has no doubt he owes to the deep blush on his cheeks. The part of him wary of falling too hard for it wants to glower at how smug it seems, but the stronger feeling inside of him stops before he gets that far. If anything, the gesture is the sweetest thing anyone’s ever done for him. How can he possibly be mad? 

Before he can try and find something else to say to fill the silence, Tsutomu has already taken his hand, and while saying he was swept off his feet sounds like an exaggeration, that’s exactly what it feels like when he drags him into the restaurant. 

Because he’s floating… High on whatever feeling settles in his chest - or rather unsettles his chest - and he never wants to come back down. 

It’s not until they’re seated that he manages to collect himself without feeling like a fluttering mess, but that also means that he has to sit opposite Tsutomu and that unfairly cute face of his. 

Akira sets down the flowers carefully in the middle of the table, able to smell them faintly despite the distance. He Can’t wait to display them in his apartment. It’s quite bare at the moment and could use the splash of colour to make it seem more… Homely. 

Looking back up finally to Tsutomu’s face, Akira sees the way he quickly glances away, as if trying to hide the fact that he was staring… Was he staring? The thought flatters Akira, because he can’t imagine not staring back. 

Akira couldn’t tell what he should’ve expected from tonight. He hasn’t been on a date so long and not least of all one so nice such as this. Every time he feels like he’s got a handle on himself, Tsutomu says or does something that turns everything on its head again. It leaves him dizzy and exhausted by the time they’ve finished dinner. He can’t get enough of the feeling. 

Talking with Tsutomu is the easiest thing in the world. He loves listening to his unmatched enthusiasm, and his replies flow smoothly in conversation that ends up far beyond the reach of whatever topic they started from. It’s not about boring stuff like the weather or work or politics, but a chilled dive into Tsutomu’s fascinating mind. 

“Would you like me to walk you to your house?” Tsutomu asks as they step outside. They live in opposite directions, and saying yes to that question would mean he would have to walk triple the distance, but there’s nothing in the way Tsutomu smiles openly at him that would suggest he would mind one bit. 

His pause in answering leads Tsutomu to make that decision for him as he takes his hand again, but he quickly protests, deeming it unfair to make him walk so far. “It’s OK. I think I can make it home on my own.” Akira insists, biting the inside of his lip. The idea of walking home hand-in-hand is appealing if only because it’s the only form of intimate physical contact he’s had with anyone in years and the idea of forfeiting that chance churns his gut uncomfortably. 

“I didn’t offer ‘cause I didn’t think you couldn’t.” Tsutomu grins, the gentle tug on his arm enough to break Akira’s flimsy excuse for a protest. “I asked because I want to walk you home.” 

Tsutomu’s forwardness is mostly an act. At least that’s what Akira thinks, considering the way his hand clams up, and that his fingers are largely stiff. It’s hard to tell in the light of the dimming sky, but Akira can swear Tsutomu’s ears are bright red. There’s no cold to blame that on, either. But the thought that Tsutomu isn’t completely immune to these kinds of reactions as well puts him at ease. 

Everything is genuine. Like how Tsutomu gently runs a thumb over Akira’s hand, the way he tips his head up to the sky when they turn away from the busier streets to where the air is cleaner, taking a deep breath in the silence. This silence is comfortable, the kind of silence Akira needs when all of his systems have been knocked out of whack like tonight. It’s still difficult not to watch the gorgeous stretch of neck that he exposes in that moment, nor the way the light of a nearby street lamp accentuates Tsutomu’s soft cheeks and cute nose…  

Cicadas sing in the nearby grass as they approach Akira’s building, and he almost wants to take Tsutomu around the block one, maybe two more times, just so he could hold onto him for that little bit longer but they’ve done enough walking. Akira is about ready to sink to the ground and sleep right here thanks to how tired he is. Even Tsutomu looks a little tired, and that’s not an assumption Akira makes lightly. So he veers toward the entrance of the building, gesturing with the hand carrying the flowers. 

“This is me.” Akira announces as he slows to a stop. Tsutomu seems very uneager to stop despite that, glancing at Akira before looking to the tall apartment building. It was far from the slums Akira grew up in, high-end and spacious, if a little dull. It suited Akira fine. 

“Woah, you live here?” Tsutomu asks in wonder, giving an excited squeeze of Akira’s hand as he looks back at him and asks, “What floor do you live on?” 

With a slight smile, Akira catches on to what Tsutomu really wants and for once, he gets his own back by pulling Tsutomu inside. “You want to see the view, right?” He asks, “You can see everything from the lift.” He quirks a grin as Tsutomu’s spark of excitement grows. “I hope you’re not scared of heights.” 

Without hesitation, Tsutomu scoffs. “As if!” 

Akira covers his mouth to hide a silent chortle, the way he puffs his chest out completely unconsciously is the cutest thing. “Good.” Akira replies as the lift dings, watching the immediate reaction of Tsutomu perking up. 

When they get into the lift, thankfully they’re alone, but Tsutomu doesn’t even seem to regard that fact, pressing his free hand against the transparent glass of the lift. Akira doesn’t have the heart to mention his distaste of the grubbiness of the surface, because he’s too focused on how all of the lights in the city seem to reflect in his wide eyes. 

The floors creep higher, too fast, Akira doesn’t want this moment to end, just able to watch Tsutomu uninterrupted while he gawps at the view. 

“Your building is so cool!” Tsutomu exclaims after a while. Akira jolts as he’s been caught staring and he quickly turns away to look at the same view he sees every day, everything in him softening at how he’ll never forget Tsutomu’s face now when he looks at the city. 

The lights partially reflect themselves in the glass. He can see Tsutomu looking at him, can feel his fingers tightening in their sweaty grip. “Yeah… I guess it is.” 

The lift signals arrival to Akira’s floor with a pleasant ding, and they both part from it reluctantly to begin the short walk to Akira’s apartment. It’s surprising how quiet Tsutomu can get, it’s a side of him that Akira falls himself falling in love with almost as much as his talkative side, but then they get to his door and now even Tsutomu feels stumped on how to end it, leaving Akira the one to do so. 

“Well then… Thanks for the flowers. And… Well, everything.” Akira says, loosening his hand. But Tsutomu doesn’t let it go. He looks up to Tsutomu’s face, about to ask what’s wrong, when Tsutomu’s other hand comes up to his face, brushing back the loose strands of hair from his forehead and tip-toeing to plant a kiss right in the middle of it. 

“You’re welcome, Akira.” Tsutomu says when he moves back, cheeks deep red. It’s such a pretty colour on him, but he doesn’t doubt he wears a similar shade. His entire face tingles with the lingering feel of Tsutomu’s lips on his skin. It’s a weird sensation, but not one he wants to fade. “Can… Can we do this again sometime?” Tsutomu asks tentatively, and how can Akira ever resist him after tonight, where this simple date turned out better than he could ever have imagined? 

Within a breath, Akira answers, “Yeah...Yeah, I don’t see why not.” 

The answer isn’t most convincing, but Tsutomu knows Akira enough by now to know that it’s all to seem more collected than he is. “Great!” Tsutomu exclaims, still flustered by the answer. Still, Akira feels he is too readable now, so he does something he knows Tsutomu won’t expect and leans to peck a kiss of his own to Tsutomu’s cheek. 

Dazed enough so that Akira can break their hands apart, Tsutomu ends up going an impossibly deeper red, touching his fingers to his cheek. 

“Goodnight Tsutomu.” Akira says his parting words before unlocking his apartment door. “Text me when you get home, OK?” 

“O-OK!” Tsutomu replies, voice loud enough to wake the neighbours, but Akira doesn’t care. “Goodnight Akira!” 

With a final look at Tsutomu’s beaming face and his little wave goodbye, Akira shuts the door. He hears Tsutomu shuffling away and waits for him to leave before he slumps back against the door, bringing the bouquet of flowers to his face to bury himself in the scent he’ll always associate with Tsutomu. 

He stands there for an uncalculated number of moments, heart rate not settling and face not cooling down no matter how long he waits. 

Because what he feels for Tsutomu is something he isn’t sure he’s ever felt before. 

He thinks it might be love.