Gakupo isn't fearless, and that catches Kaito by surprise.
Yes, no one in this world can exist without some sort of anxiety nipping at their heels. Everyone's human, and aversion to certain situations is a protective instinct to keep you on your toes-- to not trust danger, like heights or the dark. Applying that to someone like Gakupo, though, felt wrong. Gakupo has the resilience of a brick wall-- physically and mentally. He dashes headfirst into danger like it's a game. One can consider him reckless, and a tad overconfident, since he never expects situations to go awry. Optimistic to a fault, perhaps. Gakupo once killed a wasp that landed on Kaito's shoulder with his bare hands. The man has next to no inhibitors, that within itself scares Kaito-- he will get himself killed, eventually. That said, it was still an attractive character attribute. His lack of hesitation gives him the advantage in soccer and live performance. So even though Kaito is apprehensive about Gakupo living his life the same way you'd balance between cliffs on a tightrope, it wasn't a turnoff.
Kaito stumbles upon Gakupo's kryptonite on total accident. He wakes up mumbling under his breath as the last remnants of his dream fades into reality. Every night around 2am, he would awake for no reason whatsoever. Its a common enough occurence for him to grow used to, but never less annoyed by. He flips to his side and his hands fumble dumb in the dark on the ground for his phone. Kaito groans, almost about to accept defeat and stand up until the familiar texture of his phone case brushed against his fingertips. Bingo. He unlocks his phone screen and squints at the brightness. Just regular notifications. Two separate inboxes for professional and school email filled to the brim. Kaito never keeps up with it, and he reads millions of them per day. No new uploads from his NicoVideo subscriptions. Instant boredom. He looks across the dorm room to check up on Gakupo's current state of affairs, and…
he's not in bed.
Usually he'd be out like a light, spread under misaligned sheets with a drool streak down his face. He slept like a rock, and a messy one at that, since his boxers often slid an inch or so out of place, same with his shirt often raised up near his shoulders. He doesn't do it intentionally, but Kaito expects to one day hear Gakupo ranting about how "sleeping nude should be socially acceptable". Kaito can't count the amount of times he gazed over and saw a little too much of Gakupo's stupid fucking happy trail, and sometimes things located lower than that. Kaito would grumble and and spin himself the other way to glare at the wall. The image would fry his brain and leave him nonfunctional for twenty minutes. Thank god he didn't have an awake Gakupo teasing him for the blush on his cheeks and shoulders when that happened, Kaito would never hear the end of it.
This time, he can't see that mop of bright purple hair on the bed. He's not in the bathroom, since that door's wide open with not a soul inside. Not the kitchen either. Gakupo is noisy and heavy-footed when he goes to the fridge for a 1am udon noodle raid, and Kaito would had woken up to toss an angry pillow at the asshole.
So, where was he?
His room lit up white before he could walk around to find the answer. He flinches for a moment, and looks out the window. Forgive his brain fog, he hadn't woken up 100% until then to notice it is raining cats and dogs. Another flash lit the room for a split second, and Kaito notes the weird huddled mass on the ground, covered by a blanket. Kaito bites his lip and frowns. So that's where he is. He hears a muffled mewl follows the next clap of thunder. Kaito crawls off his bed and crouches down next to Gakupo. He nudges the plush fabric of the blanket, which makes Gakupo jump. Shit, he should have made Gakupo know he was there first, he didn't mean to frighten him.
"Hey- hey, it's me, I'm not going to hurt you," he assures him in a hushed voice. This feels like a role reversal, since often Kaito received comfort and Gakupo gave it. Kaito hates how fragile and sensitive he is in comparison, and while it doesn't feel good to know Gakupo is upset, it feels good knowing Kaito can help too.
"Can I take this top hood off?" Kaito asks as he lifts the part wrapped around Gakupo's head, carefully, slowly. He doesn't know what to expect, but he didn't foresee this-- Gakupo with red swollen eyes, tear stained cheeks, and exhaustion written on every corner of his face. Kaito immediately wanted to cry with him, but he musters up his strength to be Gakupo's rock. He needs that right now, not to have to comfort a blubbering Kaito when he was the one really upset.
"I'm fine," Gakupo warbles, immediately followed by a sniffle. "Go back to bed."
Gakupo groans in reply and tries to slink away. Kaito decides to pry.
"Are you scared of thunder?"
"It's okay. Who cares..."
"I do, because it bothers you." Kaito brushes Gakupo's misaligned bangs with his fingertips. He'd only done this when Gakupo needed help in the morning with a different style, or that one time when they both got hammered and braided each other's hair. Gakupo doesn't mind-- in fact, he leans into the touch and relaxes his tensed-up jaw. Kaito gives back the favor of all the times Gakupo pet his head mid-meltdown. He can't recall doing the same to Gakupo half as many times in return, and he regrets that. Gakupo's hair is unbelievably soft and smooth to the touch. This isn't a novel idea, Gakupo keeps himself clean and presentable at all times, but it didn't compare to how it felt.
"What can I do to help?"
Gakupo, stubborn as always, doesn't ask for any amount of assistance in his misery without a push. Kaito recalls when Gakupo avoided calling him for two hours when he broke his arm and needed help. Gakupo got the lecture of a lifetime from Kaito, but unlike most of Kaito's friendly nagging, Kaito got through to him.
"Aah, your ponytail is a mess," Kaito comments. "Here."
He tugs lightly on the hairband that's so loose it slides off. It's an excuse for him to touch Gakupo's hair longer, and for Gakupo to enjoy the sensation longer. Gakupo would have said no or batted his hand away if he didn't want it, but every point of contact made Gakupo lean closer to Kaito. Kaito's heart flutters, but not in a way that makes him uncomfortable. With the hairband off, he can comb through the beautiful locks. Kaito hums as he tucks a stray strand behind Gakupo's ear.
"Are you going to answer my question now?" Kaito says.
"I'm being weird, I don't actually need anything."
"Then do you want me to sto-"
"No," Gakupo interrupts, too forceful to seem like he didn't crave the comfort. "…Just keep doing that."
"You like that?"
Kaito obliges without a single complaint in the world. Gakupo relaxes well until the next burst of thunder rattles his nerves once more. He gasps and jumps closer to Kaito, almost onto his lap. Gakupo clutches the inside layer of the blanket in an iron grip. Kaito tenses at the tickle of Gakupo's breath against his neck. This is foreign territory for Kaito, who feels both excited, terrified of making a mistake, and as if he's tiptoeing on eggshells. He sits in silence and ponders what to say and do next. He can't be condescending, Gakupo panics as an adult, not a child who's never experienced life. He can't be insensitive, one wrong word could make Gakupo feel worse, or make his anxiety spike past his ultimate limit. No matter what he does, he has to do something, he has to react or Gakupo will think he's panicking too.
So he pulls Gakupo the rest of the way onto his lap. He waits, and gives Gakupo the chance to pull away or leave if he wants to.
He doesn't pull away.
They rest there together. With each clap of thunder, Gakupo's reactions subside. Not entirely, but he's not panicking. It's progress. The loud thump of Gakupo's heart settles against Kaito's chest. Kaito loses track of how long they embrace each other, more preoccupied with tracing circles on Gakupo's back.
Gakupo buries his face in Kaito's shoulder. He mumbles a thank you, and that's enough to make Kaito emotional as well.
"Aawww…" Kaito giggles as tears well up in his eyes. Gakupo wants to be cared for, and didn't fear Kaito's attempts to help him. "Don't thank me, I want you to be okay. That's all."
I never want to let you go, he thinks, I want to be here for you until time stands still. I want you to call me yours.
Gakupo lifts his head to look at Kaito's face. He grumbles and returns back to his previous position.
"You're not allowed to cry too, bastard," he says without a hint of malice.
"Sorry, it means a lot to me that you trust me."
"You've seen me naked in the shower room for a year straight, of course I trust you."
"Ah, that was just circumstance." Gakupo smiles against Kaito's shoulder.
"If you've seen my dick and I haven't killed you, that means I trust you." Kaito cherishes the rumble he feels in Gakupo's chest when he snickers. He nuzzles Gakupo and rolls his eyes.
"What an honor. Can I get you back into bed? The floor is making my legs go numb." That isn't a lie, though it is mostly said so he doesn't have to continue to resist the urge to pull Gakupo into a kiss.
"…Oh. Yeah, my bad." Gakupo says, disappointment seeps into his monotone. He slips away from Kaito and crawls back into bed-- though it could be described as a more ungraceful flop. He spreads the blankets out above himself. Kaito takes the sad hint that the intimate moment had come to an end. He returns to his own bed as well on the opposite side of the room. The silence between them made his ears ring, and brought the flood of embarrassing thoughts with them.
Why is this so difficult?
They're both close. They had been ever since they met in that shitty group home. They know each other like the back of their hands. They're both gay and knew that about each other. They both share hugs and a lack of a physical boundary for ages. So what the hell are they waiting for? Are they always going to be stuck in this limbo where they couldn't move forward? Solidarity? Friendship and nothing else? Kaito loves Gakupo as a friend, adores him, even, but he can't lie and say he doesn't want more.
It's taxes Kaito to not be able to say 'I love you', without tacking on a platonic '…man' at the end. He might be able to read Gakupo in ways no one else can, but Kaito could never comprehend Gakupo having feelings for him. Maybe he's dense. Or, maybe he's just realistic.
Either way, it stings.
Kaito hugs his pillow and tries to ignore the pang of hollowness in his chest. This is dumb. And gay. And weird. They're friends. Gay people can be friends and not date. They can be gay and not date and hug and see each other naked and nearly kiss that one time they got drunk and-
Kaito growls in frustration and slams the pillow on top of his face to drown out his own sounds. More silence follows, and Kaito lies there, stupid and suffocating under layers of cotton like a dumbass.
Gakupo tosses and turns under his blankets as usual, and Kaito expects to hear that until he falls asleep. What he doesn't expect is for Gakupo to speak up again.
Gakupo's full of surprises tonight.
Kaito says 'what' in reply, but its garbled under his pillow. More like a 'whaphhh'.
"What if the thunder comes back?"
Kaito removes the pillow. What could he say or suggest now that wouldn't pass this paper-thin boundary they created? He ponders how to avoid an awkward conversation, but Gakupo speaks before he makes up his mind.
"Can you. Uh. Come back here? I dunno." Kaito is glad that the lights are out, because his face burned so hot, he'd be seen as the same shade of red as a strawberry.
"Y-you want me to hold you?" he sputters out in disbelief, which he didn't mean to. Fuck, that was a stupid question.
"I'm sorry, that was weird of me, I'm just tired-"
"No. Hey…" Kaito rushes out of his bed and to Gakupo's. He sits on his knees atop the mattress.
"I'm asking because I don't want to make you uncomfortable."
"You're not, ばか, you never are," Gakupo says as he untucks himself from his blankets. A blatant invitation. "You worry too much, it's cute."
Really. Glad. The lights. Are out.
"…You make me worry in general, since you have no impulse control," Kaito teases as he shimmies under the sheets.
This causes a fumbling mess of limbs as they try to figure out what's the most comfortable position for both of them. It ends up with Kaito spooning Gakupo. Which is yet another surprise, since Kaito had always dreamt the opposite happening, where Gakupo surrounds him entirely.
This is just as nice, though, and isn't a fantasy at all. Warm and vivid. Soft and comfortable. For a guy with a lot of muscle, Gakupo isn't hard-bodied or difficult to cuddle with. Kaito curses the fact that this will end, but opts to savor the moment until the morning comes. Gakupo holds one of Kaito's hands in his own, and sighs from contentment.
Nothing has to be concrete.
This is fine.
This is wonderful. This is platonic, joyful, calming, and all sorts of other things Kaito can't put into words. They don't need to talk about it, it just happened all on its own. If this is all it ever ends up being, Kaito can rest easy-- satisfied with the night's conclusion.
Until Gakupo presses a sleepy kiss against the back of Kaito's hand.
Kaito decides that maybe they need to talk in the morning.