Actions

Work Header

invisible string

Work Text:

Green was the color of the grass

Where I used to read at Centennial Park

I used to think I would meet somebody there

There’s a spot, just outside the gym doors, where Kenjirou likes to sit before practice. Usually, he makes himself look busy with homework—well, he is busy with homework, so it’s not hard to appear as such—but he has an ulterior motive.

The lush grass is the perfect place to camp out in the hopes of sneaking in some one-on-one conversation with Ushijima. See, Ushijima has a habit of being the first to show up—as expected of Shiratorizawa’s prized player.

And this year—this year Kenjirou has plans to become his starting setter. He rolls the idea around in his head as he sits on the campus green, notebook propped up on his knees.

It’s their first official day of practice, which means Ushijima should be showing up soon. Not only is he their ace, but now he’s their captain too. Kenjirou has half a mind to suspect he’ll show up even earlier than he was prone to the year before.

He turns back to the syllabus he’d been reviewing, but he doesn’t get past the first paragraph before he hears sneakers scraping against the pavement. He looks up, careful to make sure he doesn't appear too eager or hasty.

He scowls when the figure looming over him is not Ushijima. Instead, it’s some lanky kid with absolutely awful bangs and the kind of face that has nuisance written all over it. He has a gym bag over his shoulder, and he stares at Kenjirou expectantly.

Apparently not too expectantly though because he opens his big mouth with, “Are you joining the volleyball club too?”

Kenjirou’s scowl deepens, and he shoves his belongings back into his backpack. He stands up and is loath to realize this kid has several inches on him.

“For your information, I’m already in the club. I’m a second-year,” Kenjirou snaps.

“Oh! Sorry, I just—”

Kenjirou doesn’t bother listening. He stalks over to the corner of the campus that has the best vending machines, intent on doing everything in his power to never talk to that gangly mess of a human being ever again.

Time, curious time

Gave me no compasses, gave me no signs

It’s annoying, just how ambitious Goshiki is.

Even more annoying than his unrelenting nature is the fact that he is actually fairly competent when it comes to volleyball.

Kenjirou had earned his spot as their starting setter, just as predicted. However, Goshiki, being the firebrand of a first-year that he is, also managed to weasel his way into being a part of their starting lineup.

Kenjirou had hoped that he’d be just another newbie with a penchant for showing off, and, well, he is that—but he is also blooming with potential. It’s infuriating.

Even worse, they actually sync up pretty well on the court. Kenjirou has come to count on Goshiki almost as much as Taichi, which is kind of sickening, if he’s being quite honest. 

Kenjirou thinks about all this and more as he watches Goshiki challenge Ushijima to a 3-on-3 match. He’s sitting with his back against the wall, relishing in his much-needed five minute break. With Spring High right around the corner, everyone is working harder than ever. While Kenjirou is happy to take the break though, some of the more…tenacious players were still bouncing around on the court.  

“He’s crazy,” Taichi decides, sliding down onto the ground next to Kenjirou. When Kenjirou turns to look at him, he’s sporting just a hint of a smile. Kenjirou rolls his eyes. Taichi was far more tolerant of the insufferable first-years than Kenjirou could ever dream of being.

“He’s stupid ,” Kenjirou corrects.

“You know he’s gonna follow you around like a puppy after Ushijima graduates, right?” Taichi asks.

“Me?” Kenjirou asks, incredulous. “Why me ?”

“Isn’t it obvious? You’re gonna get voted to be captain.” Taichi shrugs. “And it’s obvious he has some kind of captain complex.”

He turns to look back at Goshiki, who’s standing with his hands on his hips, looking up at Ushijima as if he’d hung the stars. Kenjirou recognizes the look because it’s one he’s caught himself pulling in front of Ushijima at times too—all star-struck eyes and gaping mouths—though he reckons Goshiki doesn’t harbor the same feelings for Ushijima that Kenjirou does.

“Well,” Kenjirou begins as he caps his water bottle and stands up, “he better get over it fast. I’m not dealing with his moronic behavior.”

Were there clues I didn't see?

Kenjirou is already exhausted by the time his study session starts. It’s a post-practice study session, so he’s already physically tired, but he knows he’s about to be mentally drained by the time it’s over as well.

“You need to stop babying him.” Kenjirou spins around in his desk chair to fix Taichi with a glare.

Goshiki had just stopped by their dorm room to drop off his backpack, promising to return after he changed into casual clothes. Taichi had told him not to rush, that they weren’t in a hurry. This was incredibly untrue , as noted by the strict timeline Kenjirou had mapped out in his planner.

“As if you don’t too.” Taichi rolls his eyes, peels one of his textbooks open, pushes it away as if it’s diseased.

“I don’t ,” Kenjirou argues.

He’d been appointed captain following the graduation of the third-years, and now, two weeks into the new school year, he considers the way he treats Goshiki. Sure, he occasionally lends him trigonometry notes, but that doesn’t equate to babying him. In fact, at practice he’s even less forgiving of Goshiki’s mistakes than those of the other juniors.

He doesn’t have time to dwell on it any longer because Goshiki comes barging into their room with only the briefest of a preliminary knock on their door. His arms are full, and he gingerly hands Taichi a green tea. He turns and pauses in front of Kenjirou, then offers a different bottle.

Kenjirou eyes it suspiciously.

“Who’s been telling you I like milk tea?” Kenjirou narrows his eyes but reaches out to accept it nonetheless.

“You get it after practice sometimes.” Goshiki shrugs and scratches his cheek.

Before Kenjirou has time to interrogate him any further, Goshiki is retrieving his backpack from where he’d flung it earlier and spreading out on Taichi’s bed with his various color-coded binders and notebooks.

Kenjirou just sniffs, cracks the seal on the lid, and turns back to his own work. 

Whatever. It’s just milk tea.

Time, mystical time

Cutting me open, then healing me fine

They’d lost at Spring High during the final round. Again.

Kenjirou is spent as they take the bus home. His eyes are red, and he doesn’t even have it in himself to go over the notes their manager had taken during the game. The notebook sits limp in his lap as he tugs his jacket closer to his body and leans his cheek against the window.

In the front of the bus, Taichi is comforting some of the first-years who were taking their loss particularly hard as well. He’d become quite the excellent vice-captain, and Kenjirou is thankful that he was able to step up and take the reins when Kenjirou happened to falter.

He feels the bus seat shift as someone settles into the empty space beside him. He turns to see Goshiki, giving him a light smile. He’d been uncharacteristically calm about all of this, following Taichi’s lead and helping to pacify some of the more emotional team members.

“Hey,” he says, softer than Kenjirou’s possibly ever heard him speak.

“Hey,” Kenjirou replies. As much as he wants to be alone right now, he’s too tired to elbow Goshiki out of his space.

They sit in silence for a few minutes, much to Kenjirou’s surprise. When Goshiki pipes up again, he’s still using an indoor voice, by some miracle.

“We played the best we could. They were just better.”

He was right. They couldn’t have put any more energy into their plays, and they were all operating at 100%. Their opponents were just more skilled.

“Yeah,” Kenjirou sighs.

“You’ve been a really good captain,” Goshiki adds. When Kenjirou peeks at him, his face speaks of sincerity. Kenjirou would have known regardless though because all of Goshiki’s actions and works are marked with sincerity and purpose.

“Why are you being such a suck-up?” Kenjirou tries his best not to flush under the praise. “Afraid I’m not gonna vouch for you as the next captain?”

“What?” Goshiki splutters. “No!”

He pauses, then, “You really think I’m gonna be the next captain?”

Kenjirou lifts his head from the window to look at Goshiki properly. His junior is fiddling with his fingers, staring down at them in an effort to shield his face from Kenjirou’s gaze.

It’s rare to see Goshiki hedging on the side of self-consciousness. Or, rather, it’s rare to see Goshiki being self-conscious in such a direct way. His desire to push himself as hard as possible, to be the best he possibly can—they’re all a cry for attention and an unasked question of “Am I good enough yet?”

But this—such a forward query—is not something that he’s prone to doing.

“Yeah,” Kenjirou answers eventually, “obviously.”

A small smile grows on Goshiki’s face, his cheeks coloring. Kenjirou rolls his eyes, has to turn his head back to the window out of fear that he might end up smiling himself just over how absolutely stupid and giddy Goshiki was being.

Kenjirou wasn’t worried about their team’s next captain.

Were there clues I didn't see?

It’s really more out of convenience than anything that Kenjirou ends up in the bleachers of one of Shiratorizawa’s gyms. It’s funny, sitting on the outside, looking in.

But he doesn’t mind it.

He’d visited his family for the weekend and figured he might as well catch a home game while he was in town. And it was a good game—they’d crushed the visiting team easily.

Kenjirou lingers in the bleachers as the gym begins to clear out. Once it’s fairly empty, the team begins to file back in, freshly showered and ready to clean up the gym. As he makes his way down the steps, a few of the juniors recognize him and wave. He gives a curt nod before twisting his head to look for a more familiar face.

He finds it as he rounds the corner, near the gymnasium doors. A tall frame—even taller than Kenjirou last remembered—is hunched over a notebook, abusing the paper with furious scribbling.

“Good game, captain,” Kenjirou says.

Goshiki’s head snaps up, and a look of shock that melts into marvel passes over his face.

“Shirabu!” Goshiki straightens up, blinks, then smiles. “I didn’t know you were coming!”

“Yeah, well,” Kenjirou shrugs, hands stuffed in his jacket pockets, “I came home for the weekend and needed to get out of the house for a few hours. I was going to go nuts if I had to review my lab notes a fifth time in one day.”

“Well,” Goshiki sways a bit, “you came for the perfect game. I think this is the best everyone’s played all season.”

Kenjirou nods, turns around to take another look at the other players. Most of the cleanup is done, and a gaggle of them are roughhousing in the center of the court. Kenjirou is briefly relieved he’s no longer responsible for any injuries that happen as a result of impromptu wrestling competitions between the younger club members.

“I think they’re even louder than I was as a first-year,” Goshiki muses.

Kenjirou wants to say something like You’re still loud or Don’t act so sage . But when he turns back to face Goshiki, he catches him looking rather thoughtful, halfway to mature, sharper than the loud-mouthed first-year Kenjirou met years back.

But Kenjirou has never been exceptional at doling out praise, so instead of commending him on his growth, he settles on: “That’s hard to believe.”

“Shirabu!” Goshiki whines, and, yeah, that’s more like the Goshiki he’s used to.

Kenjirou can’t help it when he cracks a small smile. The nostalgia washing over him is a welcome reprieve from the stacks of homework that are waiting for him back home. He thinks he can afford to be a bit childish too, if only for a few hours.

A string that pulled me

Out of all the wrong arms, right into that dive bar

“Hey, you should come by Friday night. Eita’s actually going to be playing a show at my place,” Taichi’s voice sounds like bubble wrap through the phone’s speaker. Kenjirou suspects he’ll have to upgrade to a newer model soon.

“Eita? Since when is he Eita to you?”

“Jealous?” Taichi counters.

Kenjirou makes sure to grab his phone just so Taichi can get a clear view of him rolling his eyes.

“Seriously though, you should come by. I think Tsutomu’s gonna swing by too.”

This piques Kenjirou’s interest. He hasn’t seen Goshiki since a few of the seniors had gone to his graduation ceremony. He knows their universities are actually fairly close in distance, but they haven’t had time to meet up since their respective semesters had begun.

“Just make sure Semi doesn’t play anything that will make my ears bleed,” Kenjirou concedes.

Taichi rolls his eyes back but it’s coupled with a hint of a smile.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever.”

So, that’s how Kenjirou finds himself settling down in an empty barstool, taking a sip of whatever beer Taichi had chosen for him.

Semi is still setting up when he hears a familiar voice halfway across the bar.

“Here comes trouble,” Taichi muses from behind the counter.

Kenjirou turns to see Goshiki barreling towards them, all but toppling into the seat next to Kenjirou. Kenjirou leans back, if only to avoid Goshiki knocking their foreheads together.

“Hey!” The bar is loud enough as it is, but Goshiki’s voice still manages to drown out all the other noise.

Despite the fact that Goshiki is being exceedingly…well, Goshiki-esque, Kenjirou finds that he’s actually somewhat happy to see him. It’s a nice change of pace from the stoic students he shares all his classes with.

Semi’s band starts not long after, and they pause to listen to his music—which, Kenjirou hates to admit, is actually pretty good. Taichi looks particularly charmed, which has Kenjirou rising an eyebrow.

After his set finishes, Semi joins their trio at the bar, messy eyeliner and sparkly eyeshadow charming everyone in their vicinity. Goshiki fawns over Semi’s band and his ensemble for a few minutes before they get around to catching up as a group.

“Did you guys hear that Ushijima is dating Karasuno’s old manager?” Goshiki asks after taking a long sip of the Coke Taichi had offered him.

Taichi glances at Kenjirou, who just gives a shrug. When they were second-years, he’d filled Taichi in on his crush on Ushijima, but he’d never really mentioned the fact that his feelings had long since fizzled out. At some point, Kenjirou realized he was definitely not his type—though he was yet to figure out what his type actually was exactly.

“The dark-haired one?” Semi asks.

“No!” Goshiki waves his hands as he speaks, and Kenjirou is mildly worried he’s gonna take out all of their drinks in one fell swoop. “The short, blonde one.”

Goshiki is nearly tripping over his words in his haste to fill them in on all the latest gossip, and it makes Kenjirou wonder if he should check in on their old team’s group chat more often than he’s prone to doing.

When he catches Taichi looking on in amusement at a rambling Goshiki, he figures this isn’t such a bad night out after all.

“We should meet up to study together sometime,” Kenjirou says as they’re walking to the train station. 

It comes out of his mouth before he can think twice about it, and part of him wishes Taichi and Semi were still with them to act as a bit of a social buffer. But Goshiki has grown a lot since they first met—it’s largely why Kenjirou even thought to suggest something like that in the first place—and maybe Kenjirou figures he can handle such an offer.

“Oh!” Goshiki seems taken aback, but a bright smile follows.

“Yeah, we should.”

Something wrapped all of my past mistakes in barbed wire

Kenjirou hadn’t expected his initial invitation to turn into routine study sessions, but they had. In fact, he probably saw Goshiki more than some of his own classmates.

It wasn’t exactly a bad thing though. Kenjirou is able to help Goshiki with some of his more challenging classes, and Goshiki reminds Kenjirou to take breaks ( “you know, like a normal human being” ).

“Goshiki!” Kenjirou leans against Goshiki’s apartment door. “I can’t knock, just open the door.”

He’s balancing two coffees in one hand, while the other holds a few bags full of takeout. Goshiki was actually a somewhat decent cook, but Kenjirou knew he’d had an early practice today, along with three afternoon classes. If he decided to make dinner for them, he’d likely pass out before they even got through one hour’s worth of studying.

“Hey!” Goshiki pulls the door open so quickly that Kenjirou worries it’ll fly straight off the hinges. “Sorry, I just got out of the shower.”

Kenjirou can tell because his hair resembles that of a wet dog’s, and he smells strongly of lemon soap.

He carefully pries the takeout bags out of Kenjirou’s grip and leads them back into his apartment.

With his now free hand, Kenjirou shifts the drink order into both hands. He sets Goshiki’s down on the kitchen counter and returns to the living room, pulling his backpack off and getting comfortable at the coffee table.

He’s halfway to unpacking his collection of highlighters when he hears Goshiki calling to him from the kitchen.

“Is this for me?”

“What?” Kenjirou asks, only half-focused on the conversation. His orange highlighter is missing , and he suspects that asshole from his bio-chem lab probably stole it during—

“The coffee in here?” Goshiki asks. He tacks on, “Is it a caramel macchiato?”

“Yes?” Kenjirou sets down his pencil case, watches carefully as Goshiki reappears in the living room with the drink in-hand. Kenjirou feels just a hair nervous for some reason. “That’s what you always get, right?”

“Yeah,” Goshiki says, takes a cautionary sip. “I just didn’t know you knew.”

He drags his own backpack out from where it lay haphazardly by the front door, while Kenjirou just shrugs and wonders why his ears feel so hot all of a sudden.

It shouldn’t be embarrassing. Why is it embarrassing? It’s not weird for friends to know each other’s drink preferences or—

Ah.

They’re friends. 

Kenjirou peeks over his shoulder, sees Goshiki trying to untangle one of his backpack straps from the shoe rack, and lets out a long sigh.

Yeah, they’re friends.

Chains around my demons

It happens out of instinct.

Kenjirou gets home after an absolute disaster of a day, and he presses call on his most recent contact.

“Hello?”

“Hey,” Kenjirou sighs. It’s nice to hear a familiar voice. “Do you have a minute?”

“Yeah!” There’s a bit of clattering in the background. “What’s up?”

“Are you busy?” Kenjirou asks, cringing when he realizes how unintentionally cross he sounded.

“No! Just starting dinner. Hold on.” A little more clattering and then Goshiki’s voice comes back into focus, if only a little more distant. “Okay, all good! What’s going on?”

Kenjirou lets out a groan before launching into a long-winded spiel about how his lab partner fucked up their lab report, and now Kenjirou is going to have to jump at every single extra credit opportunity available just to bring his grade back up to something relatively acceptable.

Goshiki doesn’t say much, just hums in agreement and doles out affirmations when necessary, but it’s enough. It’s more than enough, and Kenjirou feels a bit less anxious when he’s done venting.

“That sucks,” Goshiki decides. “I’m sorry.”

“Yeah,” Kenjirou agrees, snuggling further into his sweater, “it sucks.”

A pause. 

Then,

“Thanks for listening.”

“Anytime!” Goshiki all but shouts.

“Well, I should probably let you go,” Kenjirou begins, while Goshiki starts at the same time with, “I think I made way too much food. Do you want me to bring some over?”

“Oh.” Kenjirou’s head feels like it’s full of cotton. “I’m just gonna be sulking the whole night.”

“Aren’t you always sulking?”

“Fuck off,” Kenjirou says, but there’s no bite to it and he’d have trouble denying that it made him snort.

Goshiki snickers, and Kenjirou can hear the snap-snap of tupperware lids.

“See you in twenty.”

Wool to brave the seasons

They’re celebrating the beginning of the semester with a movie night. Well, Friday night movie marathons had become a somewhat regular fixture in their schedules, actually, but they’d chosen three movies for tonight instead of two.

They’d slowly been working their way through a list of horror movie recommendations from Taichi, who’d occasionally show up to both boast his unflinching poker face during jumpscares and offer unneeded commentary.

Tonight Taichi is working, however, so it’s just Kenjirou and Goshiki crowded onto Goshiki’s sofa. Kenjirou is tempted to buy him a new one with his limited funds because Goshiki likes to stretch out like he’s a lap dog, and he’s far too tall and noodly to fit appropriately on the couch.

This typically results in Goshiki’s head on Kenjirou’s shoulder, no matter how much Kenjirou may try to shove him off. It’s become especially prevalent during their horror movie run because Goshiki gets scared by everything , which leads to him clinging to Kenjirou’s arm like a frightened twelve-year-old.

It’s annoying. But it’s also just the slightest bit charming, and that thought alone is enough to make Kenjirou feel nauseated. He doesn’t dwell on it too much though because Goshiki runs warm, and he acts a bit like Kenjirou’s own personal heater.

In fact, he’s such a comfort that when Kenjirou slips on his shoes and unlocks Goshiki’s front door, he shivers at the burst of cool spring air that hits him.

“Didn’t you bring a jacket?” Goshiki asks from behind him.

“It wasn’t this cold when I came over.” Kenjirou scowls and tugs his sleeves over his wrists.

“Here.” Kenjirou turns around to see Goshiki pulling his red hoodie up over his head. He shakes it out and pushes his bangs out of his eyes ( they’re getting longer , Kenjirou notes) then hands the hoodie over to Kenjirou.

“It’s not a big deal.” Kenjirou says, but his hand reaches out for the hoodie regardless.

“I know it’s not.” Goshiki shrugs, smiles. “You can just give it back to me next week.”

“Whatever,” Kenjirou mutters. He pulls the hoodie on and can’t tell if he’s angry or not over the way it engulfs his smaller stature. Stupid Goshiki, filling out like a giant, while Kenjirou’s barely grown at all since he was sixteen.

Goshiki bids him farewell, and Kenjirou makes the trek to the train station, pulling the hood over his ears as he walks. When he boards the train, he leaves it up, settles into the leftover warmth from its previous owner.

It smells nice, the back of Kenjirou’s mind is whispering. It smells like Goshiki —which is to say it smells like lemon and rosemary and something else that speaks of home and sunshine.

When Kenjirou gets back to his own apartment, he doesn’t bother changing. He slinks into bed, falls asleep, kept warm beneath layers of blankets and the kindness of a pretty boy.

One single thread of gold

Tied me to you

The summer air is heavy around them as they walk back to Kenjirou’s apartment.

They’re both toting plastic bags, filled with far too many drinks and snacks, but it’s the only way to toast to their last weekend of summer break. It’s been a nice few weeks, and Kenjirou is pained at the thought of returning to 16-hour days full of labs and internships.

The streets are vacant this late at night, and there’s a peaceful quiet between them, the only noise provided by the singing of cicadas and hum of the overhead street lights.

It’s actually suspiciously quiet, so Kenjirou turns to make sure Goshiki hasn’t disappeared on him. Instead, he catches him treating the strip of curb like a balance beam, taking one careful footstep after another.

“You’re gonna get hurt, you idiot,” Kenjirou chastises.

“Nuh uh,” Goshiki argues. His tongue’s sticking out, and he somehow manages to make it to the end of the curb without twisting his ankle.

“Remember when we first met and you hated my guts?” Goshiki asks when they’ve fallen back in line together.

Kenjirou’s eyebrows cross.

“I never hated you.”

“You totally did,” Goshiki says, and he picks up his pace, turns so that he’s walking backward, facing Kenjirou.

Kenjirou thinks about when they’d first met, and—okay, maybe he had hated him a little bit, but who could blame him? Goshiki had been ridiculously cocky, round-the-clock annoying, and far too demanding of others.

Now he was confident (some might argue overly so, but Kenjirou had handled enough of his breakdowns to know otherwise) but humble, part-time annoying (and usually it was only in an attempt to make the people around him laugh), and the biggest team player Kenjirou knew (and ever would know).

No, he could never hate Goshiki now. 

Not when he’s grinning down at Kenjirou with a mischievous glint in his eye, confident enough in their friendship to press Kenjirou’s buttons like this. Not when he gives Kenjirou his weekends, going for late-night convenience store runs with him when no one else will bother. Not when he looks a bit ethereal, even under the shitty street lights, so much so that Kenjirou is half-convinced that he should stop in his tracks and kiss that smug look right off his face, and—

Wait, what .

Kenjirou feels like he’s just been assaulted with a wheelbarrow full of bricks and stumbles over nothing. He’s pretty sure he would have face-planted if Goshiki hadn’t grabbed his forearm to keep him steady.

“You okay?” Goshiki asks, face morphing from playful to concerned.

“Fine.” Kenjirou tugs his arm out of Goshiki’s grasp, praying to every and any god that his cheeks aren’t heating up as much as he felt like they were.

Goshiki gives him a weird look then shrugs. “Whatever you say.”

He goes back to his curb circus trick, while Kenjirou practices a breathing exercise in the hope that it will shove whatever emotions he’d just unlocked back into their cage.

It doesn’t.

Gold was the color of the leaves when I showed you around Centennial Park

Hell was the journey but it brought me heaven

It’s obvious that autumn is Goshiki’s favorite season.

His hands dart out to touch every color-changing leaf they pass under as they walk back to his apartment.

He’d just gotten out of practice, while Kenjirou had finished his lab early. It seemed only natural to meet up and head to Goshiki’s place for dinner.

He’s got a warm color on his cheeks as they walk, and Kenjirou has to force his brain to stop chanting cute, cute, cute every chance it gets.

When they finally reach Goshiki’s apartment, he collapses onto the couch like it’s second-nature, pulling his knees up to his chest and letting out a sleepy sigh. Goshiki is already making a beeline for the kitchen, and he returns a few minutes later with two cups of tea.

The cute, cute, cute only grows in volume as Goshiki curls up in his corner of the couch, blowing gently on his tea to cool it. He still sips it too early and winces when it burns his tongue.

Kenjirou snorts, which earns him a pout. The cute, cute, cute is deafening at this point.

He sets his tea down on the table, reaches out his arms in a rare show of affection.

“C’mere.”

He knows Goshiki is keen on physical affection, but there aren’t many in their friend circle who are prone to just handing it out. Kenjirou is no exception.

But maybe he wants to be.

Goshiki seems even more shocked than Kenjirou was expecting him to be, if the way he nearly spills his tea all over his sweater is evidence. He makes some sort of spluttery noise as Kenjirou levels him with a less than welcoming stare. Still, Goshiki sets his own tea down and awkwardly shifts over so that his shoulder is pressed up against Kenjirou’s.

It’s not like he hasn’t fallen asleep on Kenjirou’s arm a million times before, but Kenjirou knows this is different because he’s never the one to initiate any kind of physical contact.

Kenjirou thinks he can see some of the gold from the autumn leaves melting in Goshiki’s eyes, which are fixed on Kenjirou’s hands, gently folded atop his knees. When his hand reaches out to brush fingers against Kenjirou’s own, he lets him.

“I think I want this forever,” Goshiki says, voice barely above a whisper.

Kenjirou bites his tongue, feels his vision going funny from the excess of absolute adoration building up in his chest. When Goshiki looks up at him, he decides that the gold in his eyes is far brighter, far richer than anything that the changing leaves may try to imitate. 

He wraps his fingers around Goshiki’s properly.

“Me too.”

Time, wondrous time

Gave me the blues and then purple-pink skies

Kenjirou is usually sick of winter come January, but it’s not as bad this year.

Even under the frosty evening air, he has to admit he’s fairly warm. Probably because he’s huddled up next to a too-tall, hot-blooded fool.

They’d taken advantage of the unlocked roof that Tsutomui’s apartment building gave residents access to. No one in their right mind would willingly spend a December evening watching the sunset under the relentless biting wind, so the roof was completely empty when they’d ventured outside.

It’s worth it though, watching the soft streaks of peaches and pinks and lavenders curl together in the sky. Especially when Kenjirou turns and sees Tsutomu’s cheeks bathed in the honey-like light.

“Hey.”

Tsutomu turns at Kenjirou’s voice. Kenjirou plants one of his gloved hands on Tsutomu’s cheek and leans in to steal a quick kiss.

“Shirabu, stop, you’re cold .” Tsutomu gives Kenjirou a gentle shove, but he hardly sounds convincing.

“Hey,” Kenjirou says again, leans in for a longer kiss. “You should call me Kenjirou.”

Tsutomu breathes out against Kenjirou’s lips, tiny puffs of air visible under the winter chill.

“Okay.” Tsutomu licks his lips, nervous, but only for a moment. He never stays nervous for too long. “Okay. Kenjirou.”

One more kiss for good measure.

And it's cool

Baby, with me

It makes sense to move in together when both of their leases end within the same month. That doesn’t mean it’s easy.

“Why do you have so much fucking stuff?” Kenjirou is unpacking yet another of Tsutomu’s boxes filled to the brim with knick-knacks and random collectibles.

“They’re memories .”

Kenjirou pauses his unpacking to fix Tsutomu with a very pointed glare.

“Just leave them.” Tsutomu gives a dismissive wave with his hand, rocks back and forth on his heels. It’s one of the days where he’s all energy, while Kenjirou is ready to retire at 8:00 PM like a grandpa. “Come help with dinner.”

Kenjirou is practically useless when it comes to cooking, so he knows that really means come keep me company . But he needs a break from packing, so he relents and follows Tsutomu into the kitchen.

He’s opening their fridge, pawing at a bottle of juice at the back of the shelf when he hears a shriek behind him. He turns around to see Tsutomu staring at the fish he’d just placed in the frying pan, now lying in a heap on the floor.

Kenjirou sighs. “How’d you manage that?”

“I don’t know! I just turned, and I guess my hip just—”

Kenjirou rolls his eyes.

“Shut up. I’ll order takeout.”

He’s hanging up after placing their order when Tsutomu shuffles over to him, leans into his side.

“Sorry.”

“It was an accident.” Kenjirou shrugs. There may have been a time when he’d be pissed about this, but there are bigger fish to fry—both literally and figuratively. He looks up at Tsutomu, who’s frowning and drawing his eyebrows together. Kenjirou reaches up to smooth them out. “You’re so stupid. I love you.”

It’s out before he knows it, and it surprises the both of them. Kenjirou’s fingers still at Tsutomu’s temple, and Tsutomu is looking at him with the widest eyes Kenjirou’s ever seen.

“You said—”

“Don’t make a big deal about it,” Kenjirou mutters, turning away as his cheeks flood with color.

It doesn’t matter if he tries to cave into himself though because Tsutomu is sweeping him up into a hug, long arms locking around his waist and a cold nose pressed into his neck.

“Stop!” Kenjirou pushes at his boyfriend’s chest, but it’s a feeble attempt and Tsutomu only tightens his grip, sways them around the kitchen.

“You love me,” he hums.

“Maybe.”

“You love me,” Tsutomu repeats.

Kenjirou pulls back enough to see the dopey look on Tsutomu’s face. He hides in Tsutomu’s shoulder once more so he doesn’t have to look him in the eyes when he speaks.

“Yeah, I guess so.”

And isn't it just so pretty to think

All along there was some

Invisible string

Tying you to me?

It’s nice, catching up with everyone at Tsutomu’s family’s home. It’s a bit nostalgic even, reminding him of nights they’d bang down Tsutomu’s dorm door to watch games on his tablet.

Now they huddle around a TV in the living room of Tsutomu’s parent’s house. They’re out for the afternoon—and thank heavens for that because the noise level in the house is absolutely astronomical.

It’s impossible to watch any of Ushijima’s games without having someone shouting at the screen at one point or another. It’s fun though, even if Kenjirou pretends like he’s over it. The afternoon turns into evening, and they all stick around for dinner, leaving only when the sky goes dark.

It’s still pleasant, even as he and Tsutomu clean up. They have big plans to crash on the couch, probably fall asleep to some stupid movie, then head back to their apartment in the morning. A fluffy ball of energy keeps them company in the kitchen, yipping every few minutes to remind them that making heart eyes at each other in front of the dishwasher is sickeningly domestic.

As they drag blankets from Tsutomu’s old bedroom into the living room, Kenjirou catches him letting out a rather dramatic sigh.

He bites.

“What is it?”

“Nothing,” Tsutomu says. He tosses the pile of blankets onto the sofa, turns to face Kenjirou, smiles sleepily. “Just can’t wait to go home.”

“You are home,” Kenjirou says, giving Tsutomu’s forehead a gentle flick.

“No.” Tsutomu shakes his head. “ Home home.”

Kenjirou thinks about their tiny apartment, filled to the brim with plants that only Tsutomu is allowed to take care of. 

He thinks about the dog bed that sits at the foot of their bed that is practically unused because the newest member of their family prefers to sleep next to Tsutomu (which Kenjirou assures him is only because Tsutomu is the one to feed him each morning). 

He thinks about the tragically old blinds on the windows, the way the light creeps in each morning to craft a halo above Tsutomu’s head as he brews coffee.

He thinks about how there’s no one else he’d rather be splitting rent with, washing dishes with, sharing kisses with.

“Yeah.” He takes a deep breath, shoves his face into Tsutomu’s shoulder. 

Too tall, too goofy, too lovely.

“Me too.”