Actions

Work Header

the future is you and me

Work Text:

Jinpachi sits on a bench in front of his family’s inn, his whole body trembling. Snow is falling softly all around him, the scenery changing from grey to white before his eyes. He rubs his gloved palms together and blows hot air between them, then rubs them again. He has lost count of how many times he has repeated this in the past hour, yet he stays put, impatiently shaking his leg.

A glance at his watch tells him it’s half past eleven, which explains why the building behind his back has fallen dark and quiet. The day after Christmas is a day for rest here in the mountains. His parents were never ones to stay up late when they weren’t needed in the inn, and his sister was always tired with her toddler.

Only the flicker of the street lamp down the sidewalk breaks the stillness. He’ll have to tell his parents to report it. It’s bad for business, he thinks, the way it flashes bright then dulls. It distracts him from the cold for a while, until snowflakes start to catch on his eyelashes. He huffs, blowing air to displace them. The snow has begun falling heavier while he wasn’t paying attention.

Another flicker of light catches his attention, a tiny speck in the distance, down the curving road that leads the way from the inn towards the more urban parts of Hakone. He jumps up, mumbling a small “Finally,” as he bounces on his toes, anticipation welling up inside him.

The flicker grows bigger, splitting, shaping into two headlights and soon the slow murmur of a car engine follows, breaking the ambient silence completely.

Jinpachi makes a couple of steps forward, so he’s standing at the edge of the road and wills himself to stop bouncing. His plan was to look angry, after all, but as the silvery grey Lexus sedan pulls up right where he’s standing, and Makishima gets out, looking as apologetic as Makishima can get, his plan breaks into pieces and flushes out of him with the very first small smile his boyfriend sends his way.

“We’re going to be late,” he says out of principle as Makishima circles the car to open the passenger seat door for Jinpachi.

“I tried my best to leave early, but you know how Mother and Natsuki get after two glasses of wine.” He holds the door open and offers another small smile. “I’m sorry.”

Jinpachi waves a hand and gets in, letting Makishima close the door for him. His eyes follow Makishima as he walks back around to the driver’s seat. He’s wearing a beige wool coat with a belt that’s been tied at the back over a white dress shirt and dark trousers. The shirt is weaved with intricate-looking еmbrodiery in deep colours from the shoulders down the sides, patterns disappearing somewhere under the coat. It looks like one of his brother’s pieces.

The door clicks and Makishima shivers briefly as he restarts the car.

He has changed so much in the 6 years since they graduated from university, Jinpachi muses, and the sudden warmth he feels towards the man almost overwhelms him. He removes his gloves and stretches to touch Makishima, fingers trailing down his cheek and curving behind his neck, where his hair—now brown—falls in styled waves.

He had grown the green and red out somewhere between his third and last year of university then cut it to shoulder-length after they graduated. It looks stylish like that, an attractive frame to his face, accentuating rather than distracting from his sharp features.

Turning slightly, Makishima places a small kiss on Jinpachi’s outstretched palm, and Jinpachi’s breath catches in his throat. Nearly seven years together and his heart still picks up at those small forms of affection. They never used to come naturally to Makishima, and the way he has softened around Jinpachi in their years together never fails to fill him with joy.

He pulls his hand back with a small cough. “How long till Shizuoka?” He asks, even though he knows the route well. It’s where he went to university, after all. It’s where Makishima went, too, after he returned from England, halfway through his studies. He’ll never forget the day Kinjou brought him along to their favourite soba place right before Toudou’s second semester. He’d told them then that he’d be officially starting at Shizuoka.

It’s also the place where the tradition to have an annual Christmas party had started. Each year, on the day after Christmas, they’d organise a small event with their old classmates from high school and university and gather at someone’s house for old time’s sake. This year, due to unforeseen circumstances, Jinpachi and Makishima had to skip the dinner part altogether and opt for a (very) late arrival. Makishima’s brother and his wife had been caught up in a snowstorm at Heathrow, their flight delayed, so his family had decided to celebrate Christmas a day later, so all of them could attend.

“About an hour and a half if we take the Tomei Expressway,” Makishima answers. “Kinjou promised they’re gonna keep the party alive until the sun rises.”

Jinpachi snorts. “Those old people? Partying till the sun rises? They’re going to be asleep by the time we arrive.”

Makishima laughs good-naturedly. “You wanted to go.”

“Yes, well,” Jinpachi says, haughtily. “The party only starts when we arrive.”

Makishima shakes his head at Jinpachi’s antics, then turns on the blinker, swiftly switching lanes to pass a slow driver.

Jinpachi shifts his gaze out the window towards the endless white fields that seem to go on forever and, as they exit the urban area down the Hakone Shindou road, the quiet murmur of the engine and the soft Christmas piano tunes playing over the radio lull him into a content slumber.

 

Jinpachi startles a little when Makishima gently shakes him awake. “We’re here.”

He rubs his eyes blearily, stealing a glance at the time on the dashboard. It’s almost 2 in the morning.

“Took longer than you said,” he croaks, running a hand through his hair, arranging it into something that looks less like he just took a nearly-two-hour nap.

“It’s all this snow,” Makishima says without needing to elaborate. Everything’s covered in white now, and the snow only keeps falling, building up in a way that suggests leaving in the morning might include a lot of car-cleaning and snow-shovelling. Some of Jinpachi’s least favourite activities.

Makishima kills the engine and gets out, making the tour to the trunk to grab the trays of luxury wagashi and the two bottles of sparkling wine they’d agreed between themselves to take to the party. As far as last-minute planning goes, they’ve done quite well, Jinpachi would say, considering they’ve skipped the actual gift-giving bit this year. The artisan bakery near Makishima’s house makes some of the best wagashi Jinpachi has ever tried.

He follows Makishima out of the car and towards the entrance of the condo, where Kinjou’s flat—this year’s party location—is. He had recently paid the first instalment for the place, and it had been only natural they would celebrate by letting him host. Two birds, one stone.

“Car,” Makishima says and makes an awkward chin-jerk-hip-wiggle towards his pocket, hands full with bags and trays. Without needing further prompting, Jinpachi gets the car’s keys out and clicks the top button. The car beeps behind them as it locks.

They get buzzed in and take the elevator to the last floor, where the door of the apartment is left ajar for them, spilling light into the dark corridor. Soft 80s music mixes with the sound of people talking. Loud laughter booms from somewhere inside as they make their way in between the hundreds of pairs of shoes, completely drowning out the music.

Jinpachi looks at Makishima and his boyfriend shrugs in return, eyebrows raised.

“Party starts when we arrive, huh?” he says, voice flat, and if it weren’t for Jinpachi’s years of experience in deciphering Makishima, he would have missed the thin layer of amusement laced in his words.

“Might have underestimated our friends a little bit,” Jinpachi says, just as someone from the inside yells something unintelligible, followed by loud cheering.

“A little bit,” Makishima repeats, dropping the bags and trays on the floor to unlace his boots.

Before Jinpachi can retort, a door somewhere at the end of the corridor slams open and a very red-cheeked Arakita appears from behind it, the tumult from the party spilling out from the room behind him. He sways, looking them up and down, then a broad smile breaks on his face and he turns back, yelling, “Toudou and Makishima are here!”

All Jinpachi manages is a squawk before Arakita has both of them in an awkward, crushing hug. “I missed you, you bastards! You barely ever come back here anymore!”

“There, there,” Jinpachi says, patting him on the back like a dog.

Makishima’s tense, sandwiched in a very uncomfortable display of gin-soaked friendliness that Jinpachi knows must make him ill at ease, so he peels Arakita off by the back of his t-shirt and catalogues this under “Embarrassing things to use against Arakita later”.

“Makishima! Toudou!” Kinjou yells, coming out into the corridor, and saves them both from Arakita embarrassing himself further. “Glad you could make it.” Before Jinpachi can greet him properly, someone shouts, “Bring them in! ” and then they’re being dragged—still with their coats on—into the brightly-lit living room, pushed right into the middle of it all.

A lot of people have made it this year, Jinpachi finds out as he toasts one person after another after someone retrieves the sparkling wine from back in the hallway. Even Makishima’s old teammate from high school, Onoda, had come, most likely brought along by Manami. He greets Makishima, eyes filled with awe, and blushes all the way to the tips of his ears when Makishima smiles in return and asks him how he’s been. Manami giggles as Onoda rushes to answer with comically animated gestures.

Maybe it’s the endorphins of suddenly being engulfed by so much excitement, or the pretty fairy lights hanging above the windows and sprinkled over the walls, or seeing Makishima smile just so, but Jinpachi feels drunk already, not even two sips into his wine.

He congratulates Tadokoro and his wife on her second pregnancy, makes small talk with Shinkai, and listens to Arakita babble about this one particular asshole at his new job. Jinpachi lets the mood wash over him, lets himself drift.

He comes to himself as he’s refilling his glass for the third time in the small kitchenette that's connected to the living room and a familiar figure approaches. If he didn’t see her earlier among the crowd, he might not have even believed she’s here.

Inoue is as beautiful as he remembers. In a long-sleeved cream dress and a nicely-styled braided updo, she stands out just as she did in university, with gentle beauty and a captivating smile—just like the one she offers now when their eyes meet.

Jinpachi fills another glass of the sparkling and offers it to her. She accepts with a small nod of her head.

“Hello, stranger,” she says and lifts her glass.

“Inoue. Hi,” Jinpachi answers and clinks their glasses together. “It’s been a while.”

Her nude rose lipstick leaves a mark over the rim as she takes a sip. “Arakita-san invites me every year. It was high time I came to see you all.” She looks around the room with a flash of wistfulness. “It’s like we’re back in university.”

Jinpachi hums and, instead of following her gaze, he takes a look at her. Time has treated her tenderly and, apart from the maturity now painting her face, he would never guess she was thirty.

Inoue had been his first (and only) serious girlfriend before he’d finally come to terms with himself. They had dated in university, and she had been the first one to see through the intricately woven lies he kept up like little dancing monkeys; lies that had come out of his mouth so easily he had managed to fool even himself. It wasn’t because he thought it was shameful or wrong, it was rather a constant war of denial within himself. And Inoue—she had been something of a catalyst for his self-discovery. And all he’d done was hurt her.

He wonders what it would have been like if he'd realised it sooner—back in high school, maybe even middle school. He wonders if they would have been—stayed friends then.

“How have you been?” she asks, her words distracting him from his thoughts.

“Good,” he says, awkwardly. “I’ve been—great.”

“That's good to hear.” Her nails drum on the glass, and she shifts her gaze downwards. “I wanted to call so many times Ji—Toudou. I’m sorry I never did.”

“That’s okay. That’s— understandable.” He clears his throat. “Heard you went for a Masters after Shizuoka?”

“Yes,” she beams. Inoue had always been passionate about her degree, and he didn’t know anyone more suited to become a practising psychologist, however scary the depth of her perceptiveness became. She adds, “I’m actually working at the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry now.”

“Tokyo?” He asks, and she nods. “That’s great. Wasn’t that always your goal?” He never doubted she could do it.

“It was— is.” She takes another sip. “The wine is good.” She hums appreciatively. “Kind of expected the cheap booze from our university days,” she says and laughs good-naturedly. They always did drink the worst—that cheap, fruit-flavoured sake-wannabe that was all in all a recipe for a bad hangover.

Jinpachi snorts. “Maki-chan picked it,” he says, and instinctively seeks out Makishima in the crowd. He sees him talking to Tadokoro and his wife, smiling comfortably at them while the small woman gestures wildly as she speaks. Fondness squeezes at his lungs, and he forces his gaze back to Inoue.

She’s already looking at him, her expression heavy with something he can’t quite decipher. She’d always been like that, he thinks, like she could see right through him. He itches for something to divert her attention, her clear-brown gaze making him feel shifty.  

“I just—” she says, then stops herself, squeezing the stem of her glass. “You still look at him like you did in university.”

“Oh.” His face warms up, and he knows he’s blushing.

“It’s a good thing, Toudou. I’m happy for you two.”

“Oh,” he says again, for lack of a more eloquent response. “Thanks.” He looks down in an attempt to avoid her eyes—always so perceptive—and his attention catches on the little, sparkling stone around her finger.

“Last month,” she says quietly as if reading the question in his eyes, observant and quick as she is, then switches the wine glass to her right hand so she can lift her left up, showing him the dainty silver ring with a marquise-shaped clear stone on top.

“Congratulations,” Jinpachi says gently. “Is your fiance around?”

She shakes her head. “There was an emergency at the hospital, and he was on call.”

“Ah,” Jinpachi says. “Maybe next year, then.”

“Next year.” The words roll off her tongue as if she’s testing them. Then she seems to make up her mind and nods. “How about you? Are you two…”

“No,” Jinpachi hurries to say, and his face heats up further.

“Why not?” she asks with genuine curiosity.

“You can’t exactly… in Japan. I mean,” he struggles, the whole bizarreness of the situation tying his tongue in knots.

“But you want to?”

“I… yes,” he exhales. “I do. Of course, I want to, it’s just—”

“Then you shouldn’t let stupid things stop you,” she says like a mother teaching a child to follow their dreams.

“Stupid things like the law?” Jinpachi sends her an incredulous look, but she breaks into a big smile at that. It melts some of the tension away.

She sighs, shaking her head, still smiling at him. “You’re all grown up, Toudou! We all have, just look at us!”

“May our thirties be even better than our twenties,” he says and lifts his glass towards her.

“Cheers to that!”

“What are we cheers-ing to?” Shinkai asks as he approaches from behind Jinpachi. He’s smiling his usual static, wide smile. Jinpachi can never tell if it’s genuine or out of habit.

“Not being kids anymore,” Inoue says and smiles from behind her glass.

Shinkai hums. “Are we not?”

Jinpachi snorts. Shinkai’s smile widens even further.

“It’s the experience,” Inoue says. “The inner child is real only figuratively and metaphorically, so to speak. Growing old doesn’t make you an adult. True adulthood hinges on experiences and on taking responsibility for acknowledging our inner children.”

“You a psychologist?”

“Well… yes.” Her cheeks colour slightly.

She looks like she’s about to apologise when Shinkai says, “Did you read that article in the Journal of Psychiatric Research on maladaptive behaviour? Robyn-Spencer is completely mad.”

“Robyn-Spencer is an idiot,” Inoue says with a wave of her hand, instantly drawn to the topic. “His beliefs are too politically-instructed. It’s an interesting theory but the way he approaches it is totally insane. All that funding—wasted.”

“It’s a base other people can build on, though, however radical his approach.”

“It will flop.” Inoue pours more wine into her glass. “And then the little good his research holds will bear no value.”

“You think it’ll get stigmatised?”

“It will get stigmatised. And then we’ll have,” she frowns and takes a sip, “—“vaccines cause autism” all over again.” Her tone comes thin and mocking.

Shinkai laughs at that, then turns to Jinpachi. “I like her.”

Jinpachi, having lost the thread of conversation, just shrugs.

“Our field doesn’t need any more parochial politicians that fund research that’s already saturated in fundamental ideologies. People need to use their heads.”

“Avoiding bias might just lead to a perfect world,” Shinkai says dreamily, then his expression shifts to a more serious one. “I guess I never really thought about bad press.”

Jinpachi tips his glass and drowns the rest of his wine. It’s odd observing Inoue and Shinkai discuss medical research. Maybe it’s because he never gave much thought about what Shinkai is studying or what Shinkai is working. Shinkai has always been a cyclist in his mind.

Shinkai, the non-cyclist turns to him. “We’ve bored you.”

“You haven’t,” Jinpachi says.

“How’s work treating you, Jinpachi?”

“I quit last month.” Jinpachi reaches for a sakura jelly wagashi from the tabletop. “I’m helping Maki-chan and his brother now. They—we ’re expanding on out-of-home advertising, and he thought it would be a good idea for everything to stay… well, in-house.” Jinpachi chews carefully, enjoying the subtle sweet taste.

Working in an advertising agency after university hadn’t been Jinpachi’s plan. It had just… stuck. He’d proven good at it and utilising his knowledge and expertise for Makishima’s business had been good—great.

“Oh I saw about the expansion in The Nikkei,” Shinkai says excitedly.

“You read newspapers?” Jinpachi takes another sweet and carefully bites into it.

“Yep, in the on-call room. One of the attendants always buys them, but never reads them,” he shrugs, then picks up a wagashi of his own and inspects it. “Must be nice to be rich.”

Inoue snorts, rolling her eyes. “You’ve picked the wrong profession if rich was what you’re after.”

“Have I?” The smile returns to his face—lazy and unbothered.

Inoue tucks a flyaway piece of hair behind her ear. “Doctors don’t have time to spend money.”

Shinkai laughs like it’s some kind of inside joke between people-who-work-in-hospitals.

Jinpachi looks back at Makishima again who’s now talking to Kinjou. His cheeks are flushed, and his hair has been carefully collected into a high ponytail that sways a little as he laughs. He always did get quite warm as he drank, Jinpachi thinks as his eyes trail down Makishima’s neck.

“You better watch out,” Shinkai says, distracting Jinpachi from his thoughts. “Your face will give you away.”

“What?” Jinpachi asks. “Give away that I love my boyfriend?”

Inoue disregards him and says, “He did that in university too.” She’s on her third glass since they started talking and yet she looks as put together as always.

Snorting, Shinkai lifts his eyebrows at her. “He did that in high school. He wouldn’t stop talking about the guy. Once,” Shinkai makes a small pause to stuff a wagashi in his mouth and continues talking with his mouth full, “he almost lost us a race because he thought Makishima-san wasn’t there.”

“I did not!”

“He got off his bike and laid on the ground. Between all the bikes and everything.” Shinkai swallows. “It was quite funny.”

Inoue looks at Jinpachi with a faint smile and thoughtful eyes that make Jinpachi think back to when they used to date. It makes him feel oddly downhearted.

Shinkai, unaware of that, continues on. “He used to call him every day.” He stops abruptly, another wagashi halfway to his mouth. “Thinking back, I don’t know how we never caught on to the fact that he’s gay.” He shrugs and eats the sweet.

Jinpachi is ready to object when Inoue says, “I don’t think he knew either.” Her voice is light, almost teasing. And her glass, yet again, empty.

Shinkai puffs, then as if sensing this, lifts the wine bottle and refills Inoue’s glass without even looking at her. His deep blue eyes are on Jinpachi. “You totally had it for him even back in high school.”

“I—” Jinpachi says. “Shut up.”

Inoue snickers and takes a sip. “It’s okay,” she tells him, then turns to Shinkai. “Did he really lay on the ground?”

“Yep,” Shinkai nods and stirs his drink with a bright green cocktail stick. His drink doesn’t even need stirring, Jinpachi thinks absentmindedly, trying to tune out whatever embarrassing thing Shinkai is going to say about him next.

Instead, they’re interrupted by a very drunk Arakita, who practically throws himself over Shinkai’s shoulders, hanging like a bag of potatoes. “What’s up, you bastards?” He asks. Loudly. Then he seems to notice Inoue and adds, “And a lady, of course. Teruko,” he nods at her, and she nods back, a smile already lifting at the corners of her mouth. She always had a soft spot for Arakita, no matter how brash or impertinent he became.

“Oh nothing,” Shinkai says. “We were just discussing how bad Jinpachi had it for Makishima-san in high school.”

Arakita barks out a laugh. “How did we not realise he’s gay?”

“Exactly what I said!”

“It’s internalised homophobia,” Inoue says. “Many young boys and girls do not realise--”

“Hey, hey, now,” Arakita cuts in, “don’t go all psychoanalysis on us, Teruko.” His words slur. “I'd much rather make fun of Toudou.”

“Asshole,” Jinpachi mutters into his drink.

Arakita turns around, still leaning on Shinkai and looks around for a while until his eyes land of the little group of Sohoku alumni across the room.

“Hey, Makishima!”

Only Arakita can yell loud enough for someone to hear him over the music, Jinpachi thinks as Makishima turns around and notices Arakita’s frenzied waving. He says something to Kinjou who pats him on the back and then he’s walking over, making his way through the people who’re dancing at the centre of the living room.

Makishima used to slouch when they were younger, Jinpachi thinks absentmindedly as he watches him walk with his head held high and his shoulders straight. He used to make himself smaller and look at the ground a lot, and Jinpachi never understood why—why someone who was so captivating wouldn’t look prouder.

Makishima comes to stand between Jinpachi and Shinkai and slides his arm around Jinpachi’s waist, pulling him in slightly, and Jinpachi melts into him like he was made to be held by Makishima. He sighs, the comfort of being close washing over him like warm honey.

“What’s up?” Makishima inquires politely.

Arakita gruffles while Shinkai explains. “We were just talking about you.”

“You were?”

“How bad Toudou had it for you in h’school,” Arakita supplies.

Makishima goes tense next to Jinpachi, his hand a little tighter around his waist. High school had not been easy for them; Jinpachi had been a coward, and they’d had almost 2 years of not talking thanks to that, he had been a coward and—

“I think it’s great,” Inoue says in a rush, distracting Jinpachi from his thoughts. “That you’re together after all this time,” she adds, ducking her head slightly. A strand of hair falls down her cheek softly. “Like it’s meant to be.”

When she looks back up again, her gaze finds Makishima’s. She offers a small smile and Makishima returns it. He mouths something that Jinpachi can’t quite make out, and she nods in return, some kind of silent communication going on between the two of them that seems to relax Makishima. His hand around Jinpachi’s waist softens again.

“Huh?” Arakita says, looking between the two of them with a lost expression. “I might be too drunk for this.”

Shinkai shifts slightly to pat him on the head. “That’s alright.”

Makishima smiles to himself, while Inoue tucks the strayaway stand of hair behind her ear, looking away.

“But you know what I am not too drunk for?” Arakita says, supporting his head on Shinkai’s hand, then looks at everyone else.

Jinpachi shakes his head, giving in to his antics, “What?”

“Dancing!”

“I’d love to see that,” Jinpachi says with a soft snort, then hurries to clarify, “from the side.”

“Did love make you boring, Toudou Jinpachi?” Arakita taunts, words half lost in Shinkai’s shoulder.

“I could never be boring!” Toudou lifts his chin in the air.

Shinkai laughs, and Inoue smiles into her glass. She’s one sip away from needing a refill and Jinpachi spends a moment being amazing at how well she holds her liquor.

Arakita follows his gaze to her glass. “Oh, give me that!” He reaches from behind Shinkai and snatches the glass, drowning the rest of its contents in one go. “Now you have to dance, Teruko,” he insists, his arms coming around Shinkai’s shoulders. “You too, idiot,” he adds, blowing in Shinkai’s ear.

Shinkai swats him, laughing. “Well, can’t say no to that, right?” He says good-naturedly and offers a hand to Inoue.

Giggling, she takes it, and the three of them are off towards the small cleared up area that’s serving as a dancefloor.

Makishima turns towards Jinpachi with a soft smile, his cheeks red from the wine. His ponytail has come a little loose, a couple of stands escaping the elastic and falling out around his face. Jinpachi’s thoughts stutter for a second, and he almost misses Makishima extending his hand in a suggestion. “Shall we?”

Jinpachi draws himself up and says, “I think a Christmas dance is in order.”

Instead of leading him towards the others, Makishima spins him in a small circle and pulls him back, and Jinpachi finds himself flush against his boyfriend.

From behind Makishima’s back, Jinpachi can see Arakita, Shinkai, and Inoue holding hands and dancing together, swaying to the soft indie tune. On their right, Kinjou is slow dancing with Aino—another old friend back from Shizuoka—but they seem to be doing much more talking than actual dancing. Behind them, Onoda and Manami are sitting together on the window frame, heads close together, deep in conversation.

Jinpachi smiles into Makishima’s shoulder and closes his eyes, breathing in. “You smell so good,” he murmurs as he lets himself be swayed, the rest of the room fading in the background until it’s just the two of them.

Makishima’s chuckle reverberates through him, and he shudders. He’s always loved to hear Makishima laugh.

“You kept looking,” Makishima says and drags one of his palms up Jinpachi’s spine.

“Mmm.” Jinpachi presses back into his palm.

“At me,” he elaborates. His palm comes to rest at Jinpachi’s neck, thumb and forefinger rubbing the skin under his ears.

Jinpachi feels like his legs are going to give out. “If—” his thoughts stutter, and it seems to take physical effort to refocus back on the conversation, “—if you want to talk, then you need to stop doing— that.”

“Hmm?” Makishima says so close to Jinpachi’s ear that he can feel his breath, hot and ticklish over his skin. Then he kisses the spot under Jinpachi’s ear, and Jinpachi makes a small sound in the back of his throat.

“You’re unfair.”

“Am I?”

It takes all of Jinpachi’s willpower to push back enough to look at Makishima’s eyes. His eyelashes are long and curved above his deep blue eyes, eyebrows up like he’s expecting Jinpachi to retort.

“I talked to Inoue,” Jinpachi says, voice quiet. He doesn’t even know how to bring up the tangled mess that is his thoughts right now.

“Mm, what about?” Makishima asks, and his lips curve upwards. He leans forward until his forehead is pressed against Jinpachi’s.

Their noses are almost touching.

Jinpachi has never been more distracted.

“The future,” he says, vaguely. Marrying you is what he doesn’t say.

“And how is the future looking?” Makishima’s thumb starts rubbing the skin under Jinpachi’s neck again, and he fights against closing his eyes.

He’s looking right at Makishima when he says, “Great.”

“Great,” Makishima repeats and kisses him.