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There could be nothing else

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Karasuma tapped his pencil on his desk absentmindedly. The variables for the math problem swarmed around in his head, and he quickly jotted down the solution. Math came to him easily- solutions were precise, not ambiguous. Moving along the sheet, he got so lost in the world full of numbers and equations that he didn’t notice the storm clouds forming outside his bedroom window. The loud thunder caused his pencil to jerk, creating a jagged line instead of the number.

 

Sighing, Karasuma put down the pencil and watched the rain pour down and splatter against his window. He took the second to push his glasses back onto his nose. Looking out, he suddenly had the urge to fly.

 

He negated that thought with ridicule. Flying? He would need the help of a giant mechanical plane to do such a thing. There could be nothing else.

 

 

Several weeks later, and several changes too, Eishi Karasuma types reverently away at his keyboard.

 

The tap tap noises are rhythmic, and the article he’s reading has his full attention. So much so that he almost doesn’t hear the Thud of weight against his window.

 

Almost.

 

Karasuma peers up from his screen to see Takayama perched right out his window. Takayama doesn’t say anything, but Karasuma still understands the invitation to go fly.

 

Biting back a smile as he stands, Karasuma closes his laptop. He can make out the slight impression of Takayama smiling underneath his mask. Karasuma’s stomach flutters, but he ties it to the thrill of flying.  

 

It could be nothing else , he muses, chasing Takayama through the clouds.

 

 

Loud clinking of plates and utensils are heard. Karasuma keeps his head down, and avoids direct eye contact with his mother. He can feel her eyes on him, boring holes into the top of his head as he shovels in another bite.

 

The clock ticks, and she clears her throat, commanding to him that he look up.

 

He ignores the impulse and instead takes a sip of his drink, looking to the side of the room.

 

“Eishi,” she begins, folding her hands together, “look at me.”

 

Karasuma bites the bullet, and turns his eyes from the painted walls to meet the gruelling gaze of his mother’s.

 

“We’ve already talked about this once” she exclaims, pushing herself slightly forward, “but you’ve refused to cease going out at late times.”

 

He fights back the urge to smirk, and takes another sip of his drink.

 

“What is even so important? Are you sneaking off to see some girl ? It couldn’t be anything else.” she sighs, putting her face in one hand.

 

Karasuma almost chokes mid-gulp, and loudly thunks the glass on the table as his mom is still mid-sigh.

 

“I’m glad you found someone,” she continues, ignoring her son’s noise of embarrassment, “but your grades are top priority, and sneaking out isn’t wise. I really don’t know where you got this habit, I thought I was raising you to-“ she continues to babble, and Karasuma starts tuning her out. If he rebutted her claim, she’d ask the real reason why, and Karasuma decides that a girlfriend is a much more believable excuse than going to a club during the late night.

 

“-Eishi, Eishi are you even listening?” His mother snaps her fingers in front of his face, breaking him out his thoughts.

 

Choosing not to answer, he instead thank her for the food, standing to leave. As she calls out to him to come back, the click of his door muffles her.

 

After closing the door to his room, Karasuma flops onto his bed and stares at the ceiling. He considers screaming into his pillow, but moving does not sound like a good thing right now.

 

He looks out the window, and the light annoyingly tells him it’s too early to fly.

 

Despite his wish to lay down and wallow, his restlessness gets him on his feet, pacing the floor as he contemplates.

 

His mom was getting increasingly nosy, and if he wasn’t careful, he might come home soon to her sitting on his bed, waiting .

 

Am I going have to make up a girlfriend? He angrily thinks, scrunching his nose up.

 

That desperate, are we? Sagisawa rings in his head.

 

Shit. He didn’t mean to tweet that.

 

That is none of your concern, thank you very much. He jeers back as he looks out the window, as if his friend could see his face of annoyance.

 

My mom’s just being nosy , he adds, turning on his laptop.

 

Sounds fun.

 

Karasuma can practically hear his snort.

 

It’s terrible . He pulls up a page and has to stop himself from typing in “how to make a fake girlfriend”.

 

He hears the footsteps of his mom somewhere outside his door, and he knows that she would just keep bothering him until he let up.

 

Fuck it. He types the question into the search bar and punches the “enter” key with more force than needed.

 

 

Creating a fake girlfriend was, in Karasuma’s opinion, way too easy.

 

He had pulled up a docs page and had listed the necessary answers his mom might bring up.

 

Yes, she’s also 15.

 

No, no, she goes to another school.

 

We met at a grocery store, she was buying food for dinner.

 

No, you cannot meet her.

 

Looking for a random photo and editing it slightly was a little tougher, but he has the minimum 7 photos in an album of proof of her existence.

 

Karasuma has his head in the hands when the clock shifts to the next hour.

 

This is such a bad and embarrassing idea. He groans, dragging his hands across his face.

 

 

He lands on rei’s apartment roof a little while later, his previously-scrambled dignity scraped up and shoved back into where it belongs.

 

He’s the last one there, he notes, distastefully. His “research” had caused him to be late, and even Takayama and Umino had beaten him.

 

Kamoda claps him on the back the second he lands.

 

“You look awful!” He barks with smile.

 

“I feel like it too.” He grumbles, and walks quickly to where the others are stationed.

 

Umino snorts a small giggle, and Sagisawa gives him a small wave. His face practically screamed “mischief”.

 

“How’s your girlfriend?” Sagisawa snirks.

 

“She’s peachy.” Karasuma grunts, folding his arms and rolling his eyes.

 

Out of the corner of his eye, Takayama’s wings shift, and his face slightly scrunches before going back to as if nothing happened.

 

He probably just had to sneeze, Karasuma thinks. Their eyes meet for a second before Takayama breaks it to watch Umino cheer at whatever game she just won against Kamoda.

 

Takayama sneezes a second later, and Karasuma confirms mentally that he was right all along, and that it could be nothing else.

 

 

Takayama was a pretty weird person. His actions and thoughts were something Karasuma could never get. He could take a year-long course over the mind of Takayama Sou and he would flunk both finals.

 

However, he could still tell Takayama was acting off.

 

He’s acted off a few times before. He’d been off when Eden’s Birdman showed up, but he isn’t watchful this time, his eyes aren’t scanning and intimidating the world. No, this time it was similar to when Karasuma had told him to stop saving people.

 

Of course, the ever-cryptic comrade never openly showed that he was upset. It was in the way that his wings folded a bit tighter, his alertness slightly lagged, and he spoke even less to Karasuma.

 

It was driving Karasuma a little nuts.

 

 

The ocean roars in Karasuma’s ears as he lands on the cliff. Takayama, whose sitting at the edge, glances up at him before returning his eyes to the horizon.

 

Karasuma plops next to him, and waits.

 

Now, he wasn’t waiting for Takayama to speak, because he knew he’d be here all eternity waiting. No, Karasuma was waiting for his own patience to run out before he started talking.

 

A good 10 minutes pass, and it’s almost a new record, before Karasuma works up enough courage to spin towards Takayama and ask him: “What’s up with you?”

 

Takayama blinks, and cocks his head slightly to the side.

 

“Huh?” He elegantly asks.

 

“I mean,” Karasuma begins to wave his hands in the air, “You’re acting different? Like you’re a lot more solemn and I know you’re pretty solemn to begin with but-“ Karasuma takes a deep breath, “I’m just a bit worried, you know?”

 

“Oh, uh” Takayama politely stammers, and glances to the side briefly. “It’s nothing.”

 

Karasuma scrunches his nose slightly at the dismissive answer. “Are you sure?”

 

“Yeah,” Takayama breathes out, “Besides, shouldn’t you be with..your girlfriend?”

 

Karasuma couldn’t suppress the snort that escaped from him. Who knew Takayama could crack a joke?

 

“How does my made-up girlfriend have anything to do with this?” He snickers, hiding his laugh behind his palm.

 

Too busy laughing, Karasuma almost misses the sight of Takayama’s face of utter surprise.

 

“She’s...fake.” He slowly exclaims.

 

“Without a doubt,” Karasuma smiles, “We even talked about her being made-up on the first day I made her.”

 

Takayama considers this, dipping his head down.

 

“I suppose...I was distracted during that.”

 

“Just zoning out a little.” Karasuma smiles on the last word.

 

“Just a bit.” Takayama smiles back.

 

 

It doesn’t hit Karasuma that Takayama’s oddness and Karasuma’s made-up girlfriend were connected until the next day, early in the morning.

 

He’s staring at his orange juice when he connects the dots, and Karasuma then has to resist the giant urge to splash the cool drink on his face, just to make sure he’s not dreaming.  

 

Alas, Acid and orange pulp to the eye isn’t how Karasuma would want to kick off his day, so instead he runs to the bathroom to splash water on his cheeks to tone down his blushing.

 

Maybe it was just a coincidence? Oh, god. Who was he kidding, there could be nothing else: Takayama had been upset that Karasuma supposedly had a girlfriend.