“Ryou-tan, be my Valentine!”
Grabbing his basketball, Daiki gripped it tight as he watched another girl in their kindy class talk to Ryouta. His heart felt really weird, and he glared at his feet as he heard footsteps come up to him.
A hand waved in front of him, and he looked back up to see wide eyes and a toothy grin. “Daikicchi,” the blonde chirped, light glowing from him as he bounced on his feet, hands clasped together in front of him. “Are we playing, are we playing?”
Daiki frowned a bit, bouncing his ball in an idle manner as he struggled to say the right words. “No,” he managed, and could see how the blonde deflated at that.
It was hard to be angry at Ryouta, especially when Daiki didn’t know why he was angry at him. It was just- the bad feeling in his heart wouldn’t go away, and when he saw another girl walking up behind Ryouta with a card in her hands, he felt too irritated to try and talk to Ryouta again.
So he turned away and went back to his basketball, ignoring how Ryouta awkwardly talked to the girl. He kept ignoring him, even when the boy kept lingering around until it was almost class-time.
As soon as Ryouta walked off somewhere (probably to cry, Daiki knows, and he feels like beating himself up for making his friend cry), Daiki leaves as well and searches for his best friend.
“Dai-chan!” The pink-haired girl squeaked when Daiki pulled her hair, retaliating by smacking his head. He rubbed the sore spot, disregarding her squeals of how awful he is, and going straight to the point.
“What’s Valentines, and why is everyone trying to be friends with Kise!” He stomped his foot, frown growing deeper when Satsuki didn’t answer him right away. Sure, he was a dummy who never took notice of anything other than basketball, but today everyone was trying to take Ryouta away from him!
It was frustrating, and even when he tried to get rid of the annoyance by chasing Ryouta off, it only made his chest hurt worse.
“Dai-chan really is a basketball idiot!” Satsuki turned her nose up, but continued on even when Daiki protested. “Valentine’s is for lovers! Like your mummy and daddy, or boyfriends and girlfriends. You give them a present, and then you kiss and get married and live happily ever after.”
Daiki thought about it for a second. And then, “do lovers play basketball together?”
Satsuki puffed her cheeks up, shaking her head. “Dummy Dai-chan, they do more than basketball!”
“Eh? What else can do they do?”
“Umm…” Satsuki tried to remember, but when you’re in kindergarten, you didn’t really look for data on romance. “Like, like they play together!”
“Yes basketball, dummy! And umm, they dance and give lots of hugs, and they die for each other! Like in the movies.”
“Die?!” That didn’t sound very good to Daiki. He imagined Ryouta dying (and other people, but mainly Ryouta), and panicked. “Do you have to die to be lovers!”
“I don’t think so...I think you just have to kiss?” Really, if she had known Daiki would ask so many questions, she would have asked her mama about it. “Why did you want to know, Dai-chan?”
While he was relieved that there would be no dying, Daiki felt his hands get all sweaty and clammy at Satsuki’s question. “N-none of your business, we need to go to class now.”
“Dai-chan, wait!” He bolted off before Satuski could catch up, dashing to his room and ignoring his teacher when they scolded him for running. Distracted by the thoughts running through his head while he sat at his table, he perked up at the sight of Ryouta walking in with his head hung low.
“Kise!” He tried to wave at Ryouta, so that way they could sit next to each other today, but Ryouta only pouted and stuck his nose up. Daiki gaped as Ryouta walked right past him without a smile or a ‘Daikicchi!’, instead going up to Atsushi and bugging him about letting him have one of his snacks. He stared at how Ryouta went to bug Shintarou and his new lucky toy afterwards, not even glancing at Daiki.
“Why do you call him Kise? It’s not very nice.”
“T-Tetsu!” Daiki jumped in his chair, turning to see Tetsuya sitting in the spot he reserved for Ryouta. He scratched his head but shrugged, glancing at Ryouta again before answering. “It’s cool isn’t it? Kise says I’m cool, so I have to be cool you know?”
Tetsuya stared. He stared and stared at Daiki, wondering how the boy who was so good at basketball, was such an idiot. “Daiki-kun, I think you did something dumb again.”
Daiki reeled back, glancing left and right then whispering to Tetsuya. “Well, no, but I might have hurt Kise's feelings...so I need to figure out how to get him to be my lover.”
“So that the other kids don’t get him first, duh.”
Tetsuya still thought Daiki was being an idiot. But he was a nice idiot. He nodded and looked straight forward at the teacher. “Sensei told me we were making cards. Well, she told Shin-kun that we were, she didn’t see me sitting here. But maybe you can make a card for Ryou-kun.”
The thought of giving Ryouta an awesomely cool card and making him like Daiki again made the blue-haired boy smile, so he ruffled Tetsuya’s head and gave him a side hug, laughing a bit too loud in his ear. “Yeah, that’s a good plan! And then I can marry him!”
“Don’t you need a ring?”
Ah. Daiki forgot that part.
“I’m sure I can find one...oh, I know how!”
Seijuurou was the scariest boy on the playground. He never let the other kids give him a nickname (“No, only call me Seijuurou”), and even though he was one of the shortest kids there, he had scary red eyes like a demon.
But Daiki wasn’t afraid. No, Daiki was on a mission.
A mission to make Kise his lover.
“Rings? What would you need rings for?”
Akashi Seijuurou had many other kids come to him when they were in a pinch. Usually if they were desperate and really needed something - a crayon, the latest flavour of maibou, pocket money, even flowers to give to a pretty girl. But while he often rejected requests, this one intrigued him.
Daiki nodded, a solemn frown on his face (which his dad often wore). He knew Seijuurou only dealt with important business, and he needed those rings.
“Yeah, it’s for me and Kise.”
“You should say ‘Kise and I.’”
“Yeah that. Look, I need rings to marry him, so you'd be cool if you got them for me - please.”
It was an interesting request. And that was enough to make Seijuurou consider it.
“Hmm...you would owe me a favour if I granted you this boon, you know that correct?”
Daiki blinked. He didn’t really understand everything the boy was saying, but could guess it had something to do with helping him out later. “Sure sure, so you can get me rings?”
Seijuurou smiled, and it made Daiki almost regret coming to him - almost. “Come with me, we shall find what you need at the cafeteria."
Holding the ring pops in his one sweaty hand, and his attempt at a card in another, Daiki walked up the hill to Ryouta at a slow pace, careful to not spook the blonde into running.
Ryouta was sitting by himself under the tree, curled up in a small ball with only tufts of his soft hair peeking out. Daiki hesitated. It was his fault after all that the boy was sad…But that just meant he was the one who had to make Ryouta happy.
So he stomped over to Ryouta, watching as watery gold eyes stared up at him. Gloomy stubbornness turned to surprise when Daiki swooped in and pecked the blonde, squeezing his eyes shut so he wouldn’t have to see Ryouta’s reaction.
Daiki stood up straight after delivering the peck. His face was warm, but his heart was even warmer at the sight of Ryouta’s burning red cheeks. Daiki had to ask him now.
He took a deep breath. It was a bit hard to breathe, and the fact that Ryouta wouldn’t stop grinning at him made his brain spin. “Uhh,” he began, mind blanking out.
“Yeah?” Ryouta prompted him, grin still pasted on his face. The blonde could feel his heart racing, and he wanted to scream and shout and cry as well, but he could see Daiki wanted to say something else.
This was harder than expected. But Daiki wasn’t a coward, and he didn’t want Ryouta to play basketball with someone else. So Daiki gulped, and held out the ring and card with shaky hands. “W-will you be my Valentine?”
The smile in Ryouta’s eyes was brighter than staring into a lightbulb, and Daiki almost fell over when he jumped into his arms.
“Yes! Daikicchi, yes yes!” Ryouta wasn’t letting go now, but Daiki just sighed and clung to him.
“Let’s go, Ki- umm, Ryouta. I’ll beat you at basketball again.”
Ryouta stared up at the visible flush on Daiki’s friend, giggling at how the blue-haired boy would not look him in the eye. He put the ring on his finger (“Oi, shouldn’t you put that somewhere safe? We’re playing basketball!” “I’ll look after it, don’t worry, Daikicchi!”), hugging the card to his chest, not letting go of Daiki’s hand as they ran to the courts, dodging past teachers as they yelled warnings at them to slow down.
While the ring that Daiki gave Ryouta that day did break (“Ryouta, you’re an idiot!!” “Wahhh, I’m sorry, Daikicchi!”), Daiki made sure to replace it decades later with something a bit more indestructible.
Just so he could wear it while they played basketball.