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Snapshots Of The Written Word

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It was a lazy Sunday morning when Tendou found Ushijima sat on the porch outside his house, his long legs stretched out down the steps. An open book lay on his lap as he drank in the first sunshine of the day, faint golden light weaving in amongst strands of brown hair.

They match the gold in his eyes, Tendou thought fondly.

He studied the scene for a moment longer before sitting down beside Ushijima, resting his head on the taller boy’s shoulder. Tendou allowed his gaze to fall down, eyes chasing the words on the pages in front of them, before he let them slip closed and relaxed against the sturdy figure next to him.

“Is it flowers this time, Wakatoshi?” he asked, taking care to keep his voice low, not wanting to break the atmosphere Ushijima had created for himself.

“No. This book is about rare types of grasses across the world.”

Tendou hummed his acknowledgment, sleep still pulling at the edges of his mind, heightened by the sunlight warming his face. But then, Tendou supposed, he had nowhere to be. Ushijima was already there, beside him, and they had nothing to worry about. It wouldn’t hurt to spend the morning outside.

“Read it to me, Wakatoshi?”

Ushijima was silent for a while, likely pondering his boyfriend’s sudden interest in horticulture. But then he shifted, raising his arm to tuck Tendou against his chest, and began to read.

They wasted the morning away, until Ushijima was closing the cover on the last page, and yet – neither one of them could find it within themselves to mind.

~

It was a snowy Thursday evening when Tendou climbed in through Ushijima’s bedroom window, shaking the flakes out of his hair and beaming despite the way his body shivered with cold. He dropped a bag onto his boyfriend’s floor while Ushijima closed the window behind him, and kicked his shoes into the corner of the room out of sight.

“Man, it’s cold out there!” Tendou declared, wrapping his arms around his torso in an attempt to conserve heat. Ushijima wasted no time in reaching underneath his bed, pulling out a large blanket – the colour of Shiratorizawa’s volleyball uniform, a gift from Reon – and wrapping it around Tendou’s shoulders. Ushijima worked quietly, ensuring that the middle blocker was entirely cocooned before letting go. Tendou smiled upwards from his place on the floor. His cheeks were as red as his hair, and a vague concern about a potential cold crossed Ushijima’s mind before Tendou was grabbing a corner of the blanket, gesturing him down with an exuberant flapping.

“I was going to make you a hot drink,” Ushijima said, frowning when Tendou shook his head. The melted snow had flattened his hair, and it whipped around his face, casting water droplets everywhere. “You could get sick. That would be counterproductive to volleyball practice.”

“I won’t get sick,” Tendou protested. “I’m already getting warmer now I’m in here! But Wakatoshiii.” Ushijima braced himself. His boyfriend was almost certainly going to ask something of him, and if past experience had taught him anything, he wasn’t very good at saying no. “I brought some manga, and I’d probably get even warmer if you read them with me!”

“I am not sure I follow,” Ushijima admitted, though he retrieved Tendou’s bag all the same. “I was not aware that reading could make someone warmer.”

Tendou snorted. “Not the reading, Wakatoshi. You sitting with me. You do know that you’re like a walking human heater, right?”

“You have mentioned it before.”

“So it’ll work! We can read some manga, and I won’t get sick! It’s a win-win situation.” Tendou grinned, and Ushijima sighed. He hadn’t had any plans for the night, but dating a firecracker seemed to bring its own small adventures all the time, as he was steadily learning.

Ushijima sat down with his back against his bed, and Tendou wriggled backwards until his own back was pressed against Ushijima’s chest. With Tendou’s hair flattened, it was easy for Ushijima to rest his chin on the top of his boyfriend’s head, and he felt Tendou sigh happily as he settled.

“This is nice, Wakatoshi,” the blocker said, digging through his bag until he found the manga he was looking for. “And now it’s time to ruin it with some good ol’ Tokyo Ghoul angst.”

Ushijima was only vaguely familiar with the storyline, and all of the things he did know were things he had learnt from Tendou anyway. Nevertheless, Tendou chattered enough about the plot and the characters that Ushijima could follow along regardless, and the pair settled into a comfortable bubble as Tendou flicked through.

As time ticked on, Tendou’s voice steadily decreased in volume, his usually rapid words becoming slurred as warmth lulled him closer to sleep. Ushijima read one page three times over before he decided that his boyfriend had most definitely dozed off. The taller boy gently plucked the manga out of Tendou’s lax grip, and carefully laid him down on the floor beside his own bed, rearranging the blanket when it slipped down. Then, he picked up one of his own pillows and tucked it beneath Tendou’s head, pressing a soft kiss to the sleeping boy’s forehead before slipping into his own bed. He watched the redhead sleep for a moment, taking in the rare calm on Tendou’s features, and smiled slightly.

“Goodnight, Satori.”

~

It was a rainy Tuesday afternoon when Satori called Wakatoshi into their shared kitchen. They’d shared an apartment for nearly ten years, but today Satori was more concerned with a different milestone.

He slid the book he’d been hiding in his hands across the table with a shy kind of smile, the type that clearly wanted to be as wide as his usual grin, but hadn’t quite made it. Wakatoshi’s eyes widened when he saw the title, and Satori reached out a hand – an invitation.

“I know you always talked about how you wanted one, when you were older,” Satori started. Wakatoshi traced the words ’Caring For Your First Puppy’ reverently, then took Satori’s outstretched hand. He looked overjoyed, a tell-tale brightness in his eyes – like there was when he found a rare kind of plant, or, more recently, when Satori smiled just the right way. It was endearing and familiar and Satori was certain he’d never see enough of it.

“I’ve got time off this weekend,” the redhead continued when Wakatoshi sat down. “So we can go to the shelter then, if you want.”

“I’d love to,” Wakatoshi agreed, his voice rough but happy, so so happy.

“Great! Seems our family will be a little bigger from now on then, huh, Wakatoshi?”

“Yes, it will be,” Wakatoshi replied, opening the book to the first page with a fond smile. After a brief pause, he looked back up at Satori – his smile shifting into something softer, more affectionate – and tapped the page once with his finger. “Would you like to read this with me?”

This time Satori did grin, feeling the curve of it stretching his face wide, and he shuffled closer to Wakatoshi, their knees knocking beneath the table. His mind flickered back briefly to similar moments, stolen snapshots of peace they’d shared together, and he thought, not for the first time, how lucky he was to have Wakatoshi in his life.

“Of course I would.”