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you say you're in love

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“Nagito,” Komaeda barely has time to think before he’s swept up. “Close your eyes.”

When he does, it’s in the very next second that Kamukura jumps through the window. Glass shatters, and Komaeda already has his eyes screwed tight with his face buried in Kamukura’s shoulder. He doesn’t feel the impact, but he does feel the brief sensation of falling—even with Kamukura keeping such a tight grip on him and his arms wrapped tightly around Kamukura’s neck—right before Kamukura lands firmly on his feet.

It’s almost like the ground briefly tremors from the impact. Komaeda waits until Kamukura has subsequently brushed all the smaller pieces of window glass from messy white tresses before gray-green eyes flutter back open.

“So that was your plan?” Komaeda asks, a bit winded and almost exasperated. “Are you sure you’re Kamukura-kun right now and not Hinata-kun?”

“Hinata Hajime certainly wouldn’t have agreed with that course of action,” Kamukura retorted, too dull in tone to sound irritated. He still sounded irritated.

“Well,” Komaeda breathes, and looks up at the window they broke through before sighing. “It worked, somehow. Kamukura-kun knew best as always.”

Kamukura hums at that.

“Are you going to put me down now?” Komaeda turned back to him, doe-eyed with a curious tilt of his head. “Or are you going to keep carrying me like this? You don’t seriously get enjoyment out of this, do you?”

“Too noisy,” Kamukura commented monotonously and let him get back down on his two feet. Komaeda laughed in mock offense—and had to balance himself on the other because his legs were still shaking. Kamukura lets him, without comment, and simply asks, “Can you walk, Nagito?”

Komaeda nods furiously. “We don’t have much time to rest—we may end up chased again pretty soon, with my luck. Oh, sorry,” He flashes a wide, perfect grin. “With our luck, I mean.”

Kamukura took his wrist. His grip was firm and tight.

“Right, right,” Komaeda says, cheerful and bright when the sky above was still a dark, dark shade of red. “Let’s get going, Kamukura-kun.”

Komaeda has been in love with him for years now. Despite that, Komaeda has and always will prefer the presence of ‘Hinata Hajime’ to his own. He’s hardly the only one, but Kamukura hardly cares about the others. They’re all...predictable. As is Komaeda, if not for his erratic luck.

(To suggest Hinata’s feelings for Komaeda Nagito are complicated would be an understatement. Hinata struggles even now trying to define those feelings, trying to pick attachment from anxiety, and care from cowardice. Kamukura, of course, understands. Except. He doesn’t. Not really.)

(His own feelings for Nagito both are and aren’t a separate matter entirely. It bores him to think too much on it—and perhaps, to a degree, it frustrates him in a way that’s more Hinata than himself.)

Hinata Hajime has been dormant for a while now. His consciousness could be shoved into the forefront if Kamukura so desired, but it just wasn’t worth the effort nor the repercussions in the exceedingly likely occurrence that Hinata would be beyond stressed and unstable from being forced like that. So, Kamukura let him be.

Even at the dismay of everyone else—especially those who looked towards Hinata but viewed Kamukura as less than human. Especially Komaeda.

It wasn’t his concern how they felt. It wasn’t his concern how Komaeda felt either.

(It was, and it wasn’t. One of the downsides to caring for someone unfortunately involves considering their feelings more than what is necessary. It’s a hassle but can’t be helped, and of course he can handle it.)

(Of course he can.)

Komaeda’s covered in scratches and blood, and he’s still smiling brightly without a care. He winces as Kamukura cleans those wounds, but when it looks like the pain is actually starting to get to him, he just laughs.

His eyes are wet. Kamukura scoffs as Komaeda laughs and laughs.

“I’m lucky that I have you to take care of me, Kamukura-kun,” he says. Kamukura wipes away the blood from the cut on his cheek. Komaeda meets his gaze, and adds, “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” he returns, simply, because there’s nothing else to say.

Even though he knows Komaeda’s only half-serious. After all, he’s just biding his time until Hinata Hajime returns.

Perhaps that’s why he’s clumsier than usual... Kamukura only vaguely entertains the thought, like he didn’t know any better. If not for his luck, he’d be dead by now. He really is lucky.

SHSL Lucky.

Komaeda’s humming some dreary tune, with that dismal smile only slightly shifting as time went on, but never quite leaving. Kamukura recognizes the melody—and his grip on the rag tightens oh so slightly.

It’s an impulse and nothing more.

“Come,” he says, relaxing and standing. “We can resume surveying the area... Unless you feel we’re done here, Nagito?”

“Ah, why are you asking me?” Komaeda asks, much too cheerfully. “You’re the expert here, Kamukura-kun. You make the calls.”

Kamukura blinked. And then, “There’s no point in continuing. The rest of the area is going to be the same—and the likelihood of anything significant occurring is—dismissible, to say the least. But, really, at the moment, there’s no better way of wasting time. Which is what you’d like, correct? Nagito?”

“You don’t have to word it so coldly,” Komaeda says, smile strained and exasperated. He’s almost pouting. It’s...adorable, is what Hinata Hajime would begrudgingly think. “I don’t mind wasting time—but I like spending time with you, you know.”

“Ah,” Kamukura says, blankly. “I did know. I didn’t think you’d admit it so easily.”

Komaeda laughs—genuinely, sincerely laughs.

And just like that, there’s a significant change.

“You’re despicable, Kamukura-kun,” Komaeda tells him, with an angelic smile in the lightest tone of voice. “How can the SHSL Hope be so lacking? Sometimes, I wonder if you’re truly human.”

“You could make an argument that I’m not,” Kamukura says. “Whether it’s because I’m above or less depends on your perspective, Nagito, or, more precisely, what you focus on.”

Komaeda’s smile widens, but his gaze seems ever darker.

“I...” A pause, and then, he’s back to easy grins and tightly shut eyes. “I’d like to rest, Kamukura-kun. I ache all over. And I feel really, really sick. I might just throw up!”

“Should I carry you to shelter, then?” Kamukura asks. Komaeda laughs.

“You’d risk me getting sick on you? My, what a gentlemen! Oh, whatever shall I do, Kamukura-kun?” With his tone just a notch harder, he adds, “If I actually end up liking you; that might just be the worst.”

Kamukura ended up carrying him on his back. Komaeda doesn’t say anything else the rest of the trip—he just hums that same song as before, right up against his ear like an irritating, incessant buzzing.

Even if saccharinely, Komaeda does compliment him for a good find in terms of refuge. The beds need to be dusted off, but cleaning is something Komaeda enjoys—and is good at—and once clean, it’s as though Komaeda sinks into the plush surface.

“Brings back memories,” he sighs.

He could be referring to his childhood.

He could be referring to something...else.

Komaeda’s smile, flashed in his direction, never looked darker from within the shadows.

“Are you going to rest as well, Kamukura-kun?”

He might as well.

“There’s enough room for both of us,” Komaeda laughs.

He stops because Kamukura does, indeed, seat himself on the bed’s end. He undoes his tie, and then he undid the tidy ponytail his hair had been put into.

Komaeda shifts, just a bit, and then there’s rustling behind him, signifying the act of undress. Though it’d probably be more comfortable, Kamukura has no interest in doing the same. The furthest he goes besides setting his tie aside is slipping off his shoes.

He’s fine with waiting until Komaeda slips under the covers to lie down beside him. He doesn’t need to be under the blankets to rest. He doesn’t care that much.

“You look bored.”

Kamukura doesn’t look back.

“I am bored.”

Pale, slender arms wrap around him from behind. A head of wild, fluffy white hair settles onto his shoulder. Against his back, there’s a feeble heartbeat.

“I can think of something slightly interesting to do, Kamukura-kun. What do you say?”

“Is it curiosity?” he asks. “Or do you long for Hinata Hajime’s body that badly?”

Komaeda snorts. His one good hand draws shapes on Kamukura’s broad, firm chest. Red eyes fall onto said hand’s robotic counterpart, covered with a long black glove. Remembering how Hinata loved to press kisses against the pulse in a frail, bony wrist, Kamukura places his hand over the metallic one. He considers entwining their fingers.

It’s not implausible to expect Komaeda to allow such an action.

But he doesn’t do that.

“It’s just for the sake of boredom,” Komaeda says, and then laughs. “We’re just partaking in the basest of pleasures. Might as well, right? Kamukura-kun?”

It’s an excuse that neither of them believes. It’s a wonder Komaeda even suggests it.

...It’s entirely possible that this is simply a sign of Komaeda Nagito’s despair.

So Kamukura shoves him off none too gently. Komaeda lets out a muffled oof. By that time, Kamukura’s already up and standing by the window. Pulling the curtain aside, he looks out towards the darkening, red-violet sky.

There’s a degree of familiarity to this situation. Kamukura doesn’t think much else on that and has no desire to. It’s...for his own sake that he doesn’t think much else.


Komaeda, if nothing else, sounds more confused than irritated or startled.

“Is something wrong, Kamukura-kun?”

But there was an edge to his tone on that word.

Kamukura tugs the curtain back into the place it was before.

“Nagito,” he starts, and then, “You know the answer to that question.”

Komaeda scoffs. He wraps his arms around his bare legs. His expression, when Kamukura turns to observe it, is nothing more than disgruntled frustration before he quickly smiles as he always does.

“I’m not a mind-reader like you are,” Komaeda says, sweetly and sharply. “I can’t begin to predict your thoughts and motives.”

“Strange you feel that way,” Kamukura notes. “Especially when it seems all my thoughts and motives are related to you.”

“Is that a confession?” Komaeda asks, brightly and almost excitedly. “Seriously? Whatever happened to finding me boring, Kamukura-kun? I really don’t understand! Is it just Hinata-kun’s influence? It must be. It is, right?”

“It is and it isn’t.”

“That’s the worst response,” Komaeda laughs. “You’re the worst, Kamukura-kun.”

“Compared to her?”

“I might not be able to hold back my violent impulses if you continue saying such aggravating things.” Komaeda’s smile has completely dropped. But it returns, soon enough. “So are you really in love with me because of Hinata-kun? The Ultimate SHSL—and you’re brought down by the emotions of some average, everyday nobody?”

“I’m not a separate person from Hinata Hajime.” A pause. “Isn’t that why you resent me, Nagito? Isn’t that why I make you despair?”

“Is that guilt?” Komaeda simply asks, with nothing but wide-eyed curiosity. “You’re still capable of that? Or is that Hinata-kun’s influence as well?”

“You really resent me, don’t you,” It’s not a question. It’s a statement. He’s known this already.

But, Komaeda does, for what it’s worth, flinch. The corners of his lips twist and—he’s not smiling. But he’s not frowning either.  His mouth isn’t even a straight line. Not really.

His eyes are hidden by pure white fringe—ivory strands that capture the small amount of light when everything’s so dark.

Before he thinks, Kamukura finds his hand brushing those white strands away. He cups Komaeda’s cheek—Komaeda nestles into his touch on instinct. He sighs.

Kamukura presses a kiss to his brow. Komaeda flinches, almost stifles a laugh, but he’s back to utter silence.

He does, for whatever it’s worth, kiss back when Kamukura’s lips brush against his own.

“What am I going to do?” Komaeda sighs, mournfully and miserably with the saddest of smiles. “Just what am I supposed to do, Kamukura-kun?”

“Do you want me to answer, Nagito?” Kamukura asks, brushing his thumb over the delicate curve of his cheek.

Komaeda almost laughs, and shakes his head.

“If it were that easy, it’d be so, so boring for both of us. Don’t you think so?”

“I don’t actually mind.” He tucks ivory strands behind the other’s ear. Long, pale lashes lower over eyes that look grayer than green, and Kamukura watches as Komaeda’s flicker between something indeterminate towards the ground and then back up.

“I do,” Komaeda says, smiling and bitter. “Part of Hinata-kun’s charm was that he was never sure about anything.” Wrapping his arms around the other’s neck, Komaeda giggles, ruefully and pitifully, burying his face into a broad shoulder. “Even if you’re the same person, you’re really different from him, Kamukura-kun.”

Silent, stroking his hair, Kamukura’s arms tighten around him.

“Hey,” Komaeda almost sounds breathless as he asks, “How much would you say you love me? Would you kill for me? Would you die for me?”

It was obvious he didn’t want an actual answer for any of those questions. But, for what it was worth, he thought it over. He contemplated any and all applicable situations. If he truly loved this person, then...

“I suppose I...”

Komaeda kisses him quiet before he can go any further. Kamukura wasn’t surprised. Not even a little.

He just holds the other close, returning the kiss until Komaeda parts from him.

“You should rest,” Kamukura murmurs, taking in that pained smile and those glimmering gray-green eyes. “You seem to be overthinking things, Nagito.”

“Probably,” Komaeda agrees, for what it’s worth, with a weak chortle. With a tilt of his head, he asks, “Come to bed, Kamukura-kun?”

Komaeda’s a little tense in his arms, but the pleading in his gaze is genuine. Kamukura does comply, of course, but Komaeda doesn’t exactly ease up even then. He’s cuddly and close, but he also hides his face in his chest, up against his heartbeat.

Kamukura doesn’t think much past that.

Komaeda’s snuggled up against him when he wakes. Komaeda’s still asleep as Kamukura idly strokes his hair and contacts Togami about their whereabouts. The texts received are curtly worded—the verbal reprimand will be much worse, Kamukura is sure.

Dull. How dull.

“Boring,” he mutters. Komaeda snuffles in his sleep. Kamukura, distracted, pecks his crown, and resumes stroking his hair.

Hinata is sure to reclaim consciousness soon. Once he does, Komaeda will in a better mood, he supposes. Komaeda will fall back into the role of eager lover. Komaeda, perhaps, won’t look like he wants to cry after being kissed and while he’s being coddled. Perhaps. Perhaps not. But it’ll be for different reasons.

Right now, despite everything, Komaeda’s expression is calm. Relaxed. He breathes steadily, unmistakably alive. It’s a tempting thought to consider—sweeping Komaeda away while he’s like this. It’s nothing more than an impulse he ignores.

He doesn’t ignore the impulse to kiss Komaeda’s temple, nor the impulse to nuzzle him when Komaeda mutters incoherently.

It’s a part of being in love, he supposes. He doesn’t think much past that either.