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Summer Fever

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Summer had never been much of an anticipated season for Doyoung. It was hot and sticky, filled with the smell of sweat and the incessant noise of cicadas. Sitting in an office for gruellingly long hours with nothing but a small fan to provide any sort of relief was not something Doyoung enjoyed. 

Still, this year he wouldn’t be sitting in an office. 

The final call for passengers filtered through the speakers, getting those around him at the gate to stand up. He had gotten there early, having nothing better to do, and watched as people arrived and left, all going towards their own respective destinations. 

Doyoung found airports fascinating. Timezones collided, strangers collided, stories collided. Relationships that would only last the duration of a single 8 hour flight would come to be, sometimes contact details would be swapped and the tale would continue. At times, strings would intertwine, find themselves tangled in a never ending loop and destinies would change. People would change. 

Doyoung wondered if he would be changing this summer. Perhaps a change was what he so desperately needed. 

He stood up, hoisting his backpack on his shoulder. It was light, with only his necessary documents, a book, his chargers and his wallet inside. He hadn’t thought to bring much with him on board when he had packed, haphazardly stuffing most of it into his larger suitcase to check in. He wasn’t really sure what to expect, or how much to bring. That was what booking a one way ticket to Tokyo did. 

It didn’t take long to get past the final boarding pass check, and soon enough Doyoung found himself being directed towards the seat he’d be sat in for the next 2 and a bit hours. It wasn’t a long flight, one of the reasons why Doyoung had chosen to fly to Japan instead of somewhere more tropical. He wasn’t particularly a huge fan of flying, hating the drop of his stomach as the metal bird would ascend and descend. It just didn’t quite settle well with his nerves, so he usually avoided flights at all cost.

This time however, he wanted to completely get away. He needed to just be out of Korea, somewhere where it was out of mind, in a different world. The urge to run away had been so unbearable that he couldn’t help but book a ticket to wherever was closest.

He had chosen the seat closer to the aisle, with the person to the left of him next to the window. Doyoung reckoned looking outside would do nothing to calm his nerves. He could see the top of a head as he approached the row on his boarding pass, though catching a look at the person’s face proved to be difficult as they bent down to pick something up from the floor. 

Not dwelling on it, he quickly stowed his backpack in the overhead locker before settling down. His seatmate seemed to finally notice his presence as his feet came into view, moving back to try sit up straight. A beaming smile was the first thing Doyoung noticed, with straight pearly white teeth that seemed to have come straight out of a dental surgeries poster. 

There’s no way anyone could naturally have such straight white teeth. 

His eyes travelled up, widening as they realised who exactly he was looking at. “Nakamoto Yuta, is that you?” 

Yuta looked at Doyoung in surprise, jaws dropping open at the sight of him before a grin plastered over his face once more. He was just as radiant as Doyoung remembered, eyes bright and twinkling and hair fluffy, now a light blonde. 

“Oh my god, Doyoung! This is crazy, what a coincidence!” He seemed to vibrate with energy in his seat, excitement escaping him in waves. 

Doyoung chuckled, unable to keep his face straight when someone like Yuta was next to him. He seemed to always have that effect on the people around him. “I know, I would’ve never thought I’d see you here! Are you heading home?” 

The Japanese man was originally from Osaka if he remembered correctly, having moved to Korea for college and apparently stayed after graduation. 

“I am, what about you? I never thought I’d meet you on a plane of all places, don’t you hate them?” 

“You remembered that?” He laughed sheepishly, biting his lip to contain the smile threatening to escape. He had no idea how Yuta remembered such a stupid fact about him.They weren’t exactly the closest in college, knowing each other from shared circles rather than being friends themselves. 

“I remember you complaining about it when the guys were planning that trip to Thailand in 2nd year. Are you okay with flying now then?” 

“Nope, still hate it. I’m glad this flight isn’t too long.”

“That’s a good point, wouldn’t want you being sick all over me or anything.”

Doyoung shot him an offended look, hand over his chest for added effect to which he laughed. Their chatter carried on whilst the flight got into motion, and Doyoung barely noticed that they were now airborne. They realised quickly that they wouldn’t have a third seat mate, with a gap in between them so Yuta gestured for Doyoung to move down so they could talk more. 

“Japan, huh....What are your plans then? How long are you staying?”

Doyoung bit his lip, eyes flitting between Yuta and the seat in front of him. 

“I’ve honestly got no idea... I just booked a one way ticket and a hotel room for a night in Tokyo and after that I was just going to figure it out.”

He hoped Yuta wouldn’t ask about why he was doing what he was doing, hating to recall all that had gone down for him to reach this stage. 

“You’re alone?” He asked instead, obviously sensing Doyoung’s reluctance to talk more about it. 

He nodded. “Just me and the city.”

Yuta sat in contemplation, an unreadable emotion crossing his face before he turned to Doyoung, smiling once more. 

“That’s cool. There’s a lot you can do in Japan so I doubt you’ll get bored.”

And that was the end of that. They gravitated towards more safer topics after, like Doyoung’s hate of airplane food and Yuta’s daily life as a teacher. Doyoung had looked at him with wide eyes as he’d told him his profession. 

“It doesn’t suit me right? I don’t know if I’m the right person for it.” 

“No!” he sputtered, panicked. “No, it’s not that, I’m just surprised because it fits you perfectly. If anyone could be a teacher, it’s you.”

Heat travelled to Yuta’s cheeks on hearing that, looking down so the long strands of his hair could hide the embarrassed look in his eyes. “Really? You think so?”

“Definitely. I’m sure your students love you, you’re always so easy going and easy to approach.” The shower of praise from Doyoung didn’t help Yuta’s bashfulness, and Doyoung couldn’t help but think he looked adorable like that. 

In college, the two would cross paths, sometimes talk for a few minutes, but never really had time to become any closer than that. Doyoung had often found his eyes following the soccer player during his matches, or locking onto his figure slumped over text books in the library, but he never dared to act on it. Yuta was levels above him, an academic and athletic star student who always seemed so self assured and confident. Doyoung in contrast, had felt like he could barely grasp onto the threads of his life as it unravelled in front of him. He still felt that way. 

Nothing seemed to quite turn out how Doyoung wanted it to. He had quit the job he had worked so hard to get, damaged the reputation he had built up, lost the lover he had felt so lucky to have, all within a span of a month. Life felt like it was tearing apart at the seams, and Doyoung had no idea what to do other than book a ticket and fly somewhere no one knew him so he could have a few moments to himself. He needed a change, something to bring purpose back into his life, and he hoped Japan could somehow do that for him. He didn’t know how, but perhaps if he spent long enough wandering the streets alone, he could somehow get hit with inspiration. It wasn’t the greatest plan, not by a long shot, but at this point he didn’t know what else he could do. Nothing seemed to be working.

Time seemed to pass by in a blink of an eye with Yuta, Doyoung laughing the most he had in the past month. He was someone so positive and down to earth, Doyoung couldn’t help but stare when he’d smile. 

The flight seemed shorter than he would’ve liked, and disappointment took over as they began their descent. For someone who hated flights, Doyoung had wanted this one to last a bit longer. 

The two of them were quick to gather their things and leave the plane, and Yuta gave him a small wave as he passed through immigration, though Doyoung wasn’t too far behind. Their bags didn’t take long to appear on the luggage belt considering how small their flight was, and soon they found themselves stood at the entrance of the airport.

“Well I guess this is it...” Doyoung tried his hardest to contain the sadness in his voice, though he was far more obvious than he’d like. 

“Yeah... well I hope you enjoy your stay. You have my number now so call me if you need any advice about anything.” 

Doyoung nodded gratefully. “I will, thanks.” 

He turned, eyes searching out for a cab to take him to his hotel. He had only booked a room for the night, so he had to figure out what he’d be doing for the rest of his time here. The idea of renting an apartment occurred to him, though he wondered if he could find one for a good price. He imagined finding a place in Tokyo would be expensive.

As a taxi pulled up into the taxi lane, he quickly grabbed his bag, giving Yuta a final wave before running to catch it. Just as he lifted his arm to call the driver, a hand wrapped around his, pulling him to a stop. 

“Wait...” It was Yuta, panting slightly from running after him. “You’ve only booked for the one night right?” 

Doyoung looked at him in bewilderment, eyes wide and blinking. He nodded, not quite finding the words in his surprise. 

“Cancel it. Come to Osaka with me, please .” 

His heart felt like it would jump out of his chest, beating so fast he thought it’d stop. “I-“

“I have my own apartment in Osaka, you don’t have to pay anything and I could take you around myself. I’m alone this summer, so are you. What do you think?” 

He could hear the ringing of bells in his ears, a sign of change or something new beginning. Spending the summer with Yuta? Living with Yuta in Osaka? He hadn’t imagined that in his wildest dreams. 

His eyes were resolute, firm in his decision yet fearful for Doyoung’s reaction. With the way he was chewing his lip, Doyoung was nearly certain it’d bleed. He was nervous, the way his hand shook slightly as it held his wrist was enough to show that. 

“Okay...okay. I’ll come to Osaka with you.” 

And so things began to finally click in place, slowly yet surely.

~

It took half an hour for the two of them reach Shinagawa station, where they would be catching the bullet train to Osaka. It had been a slightly awkward journey, with the two of them not quite sure how to interact. 

Doyoung had called up the hotel to cancel his room, nodding along as they explained he wouldn’t be receiving a refund. He couldn’t seem to care less at this point, looking more forward to seeing what Osaka had to offer him. He hadn’t ever thought about visiting Osaka, his mind had just been focused on Tokyo. Yuta had looked at him, offended, when he had told him that. 

“You’ve come all the way to Japan and you weren’t planning to visit Osaka ? How did you plan this trip?” 

“I didn’t, that’s the point. The most I considered to do was book my hotel and buy a travel pass. Other than that, I was just planning to wing it.”

“Wing it, huh…” Yuta chuckled, gaze turning to their train as it arrived at their platform. Almost instantly, they found themselves engulfed by a swarm of people as they exited the train, all in a rush to reach their destinations. Train stations weren’t all that different to airports, Doyoung thought, only that they seemed more frantic. 

He could feel himself being swept back by the crowd, trying his hardest to stay close to Yuta but failing miserably. Soon he began to lose sight of his mop of blonde hair and panic overcame him. Eyes frantically searched for the older, his hand coming out to somehow reach for him. Doyoung thought he was almost certainly left behind by Yuta when a hand shot out from the crowd, grabbing onto his and pulling him forwards. 

“Come on, you’re gonna get lost dummy.” Yuta grinned, Doyoung’s hand in one of his, and his suitcase in the other. 

With all his strength, he wrestled the two of them  through the swarm till they finally climbed onto their train. It was still packed, though it felt like Doyoung could breathe slightly easier inside

They were quick to find their seats, placing their bags away once more before settling in. This time Doyoung decided to take the window seat, actually enjoying train rides as opposed to flights. 

“You’re going to get the real Japan experience with me, I guarantee it.” Yuta puffed out his chest in pride, winking playfully as Doyoung scoffed, shoving him to the side. 

“What if you suck as a tour guide and make me never want to come back again?”

“Impossible! No one could do a better job than me!” 

 “Hmm, we’ll see.” He rubbed his chin in thought. “By the way, how come you flew into Tokyo if you were going to head straight to Osaka? Wouldn’t it have been easier to just get a direct flight there?” The question had been bugging him for a while. A direct flight would’ve probably been a lot cheaper as well, compared to the two trains they were taking in addition to their flight to Tokyo. 

“Well, technically I was planning to stay in Tokyo for a few days. It’s my ex girlfriend’s wedding and she had invited me…”

Doyoung sat up. “Wait, you’re not going then? Are you skipping it for me?” 

“No! Well, I mean, kinda. I didn’t really want to attend but my friends kept insisting I did. I think she only invited me for formalities since everyone else was as well, but honestly I don’t think she’d want to see me.” 

“Bad breakup?” 

He shrugged. “I guess you could say that. I was moving to Korea and didn’t want a long distance relationship, she did. We fought, broke up and haven't talked since. A pretty standard story. I just don’t really feel like I’d be comfortable there. We haven’t stayed in touch or anything so randomly turning up would be awkward. Meeting you ended up being the perfect excuse for me to skip it to be honest, so thanks for that.” 

Doyoung couldn’t help but laugh. He wasn’t sure if he should’ve been offended for being used as an excuse or not, but he did find it funny. “Well I guess I’m glad you were coming to Tokyo, saved my ass from spending summer alone.” 

Yuta grinned. “See! I’m already doing a great job showing you around.”

“Don’t get ahead of yourself.” 

As the train set off and scenery began to fly by, Doyoung inched closer and closer to the window, eyes wide with amazement. He felt like a child again, finding even the smallest of things to be fascinating and it was an amazing feeling. 

“So, you didn’t tell me why you decided to book a one way ticket here. You’re not exactly the most reckless person I know, Doyoung.” 

Well he wasn’t wrong, Doyoung wasn’t typically a reckless person. He thought through his actions carefully, always weighed up the pros and cons and only after he was certain of his decision did he ever do something out of the box. 

“Well, I quit my job, so there’s a part of that.”

Yuta scooted, pressing a little further. “Any reason why? You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. It just might be good to talk to someone about it.” 

Doyoung looked at him long and hard, mind on the edge as he tried to decide whether to open up to the man or not. In the end it was Yuta’s warm smile that did it for him.

“I was dating my boss, stupid move I know. He was given an ultimatum - date and marry the person his parents wanted him to or lose the company. Clearly, the company won.” He made no attempt at hiding the bitter tone in his voice or the way his hands clenched into fists at the memory of it all. It had felt like a sick joke when he had been told.

“Wow… that’s intense..” 

“Yeah, I guess.” 

“Wait, so he made you leave after? What kind of dick-”

“No!” He quickly came to Johnny, his ex lover’s, rescue. He wasn’t sure why he defended him so much, despite everything that had happened. “He was fine with me staying at the company, insisted on it actually. It was me though, I couldn’t keep working there without feeling so awkward and then someone leaked pictures of the two of us around the notice boards and it was a mess. I just had to leave and get away from it all.” 

A hand came to rest on top of Doyoung’s, squeezing it in comfort. “I’m sorry you’ve had to go through that. Sounds like one hell of a time.” 

“It’s fine. What’s done is done, I just need to move on now.” 

“I know that’s not the easiest thing to do. Hopefully it’ll get easier whilst you’re here. You know what, that’s just made me even more fired up to make this summer the best one you’ve ever experienced! Watch me do it! It’ll be great!” 

Doyoung chuckled at his exuberance, Yuta really was one of a kind. “I’ll leave my summer in your hands then, Yuta. Make it the best.” 

And he had a feeling it would be. 

~

Laughter seemed to be bubbling out of him a lot more lately, Doyoung noticed. Yuta always seemed to amuse him and this was one of those moments where his expressions did nothing but make Doyoung wheeze. 

“I’m so sorry, I forgot I only had one bedroom!” His hands were moving about frantically as he looked between Doyoung and the small queen-sized bed in his room. 

They had reached the apartment fairly late at night - it was around 11PM. The plan was to crash for the night and figure out things the next day but then Yuta realised he didn’t have a bed for Doyoung to sleep on. 

“I’ll sleep on the floor! I’m used to it anyways, let me!” 

Doyoung shook his head. “Nope, not happening. I’m staying here without paying you anything, I’ll be the one on the floor. I don’t mind.”

“Are you sure?” 

“Positive.”

“Alright, let me get the futon out. You can freshen up in the meantime, the bathroom’s on the left.” Doyoung nodded in thanks, grabbing his toiletries before entering the en-suite. 

The apartment was nice, small but cozy and very Yuta like. Pictures littered the place, some of family, some of friends, he assumed. There were a few of him with dogs, and one he saw with Yuta wearing a yukata. Doyoung had stopped to look at that one when they had entered, and Yuta had reddened as he picked it up.

“It’s from the Daigaku festival a few years ago. I was sort of forced to go by my sister.” His little wave of embarrassment had been adorable to Doyoung, the way he had quickly taken the frame out of his hands to lay it flat so he couldn’t look at it anymore. 

“You looked good in a yukata,” he found himself saying, immediately wanting to take it all back as his face matched Yuta’s. Gosh, he felt like a teenager or something around him. 

In the end, they had forgotten it all once the reality of Yuta only having one bed dawned on them. Doyoung took a quick shower, grateful for the good water pressure from his bathroom, and brushed his teeth. He wasn’t in any mood to eat so skipping dinner seemed like a good plan. 

Once he exited the bathroom, he saw Yuta patting down the futon and laying a pillow on it for him, then flashing him a smile before entering the bathroom as well. Doyoung wasted no time settling down, his body sighing with relief after such a long day of travelling. He had never spent so long on transport and it had taken its toll on him. By the time Yuta re-entered the room, Doyoung was fast asleep, only the sound of his light breathing escaping him. 

Sleep seemed to escape him quickly, fleeting away as memories once again visited the crevices of his mind. 

“I’m sorry, I just can’t let the company go. I’ve spent years building it up, Doyoung. I can’t give it all up for a relationship.” 

“Is that all this was to you? Is that all I was?” 

“I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.” 

“Hey did you hear about that Kim Doyoung? He acts like such a stickler but he was sleeping with the boss this whole time.” 

“I bet that’s why he got that promotion. Miracles can happen when you’re good at sucking dick.” 

“The boss is getting married anyway, he’s being dumped and it was all for nothing.” 

“I’m quitting. I’m done.”

Doyoung had hoped that somehow the recurring nightmares would cease once he left Korea, but it seemed like he had no such luck. Eyes wide open, body drenched in sweat, he couldn’t find any way to lull himself back into the deep coma he wished he was in. 

His gaze travelled up the side of the bed next to him, to where Yuta lay on his stomach sleeping soundly, the light of the moon and streetlights lighting up his face as his curtains swayed in the night breeze. He was wearing a loose tank top, one side falling off his shoulder and the hem riding up to reveal his tanned back. Doyoung did his best to avert his eyes, clearing his throat slightly to try to remind himself not to make things awkward for the two of them. 

Since he wouldn’t be dozing off any time soon, Doyoung opted to wander around the apartment a little bit more, his feet carrying him around the cool living room and small kitchen. 

Summer is Osaka was hitting hard, with temperatures already high enough to make Doyoung feel like he was melting. His throat felt parched from the ongoing exposure to the drying AC air so he swung open the fridge door, desperate to find something cool enough to drink. It shouldn’t have been a surprise that all Yuta seemed to have was a few cans of beer, the ones he had bought on the way to the apartment. 

With no better option, Doyoung grabbed one, popping it open as he made his way to the balcony. Though Yuta’s home was small, it did host a good amount of balcony space to fit an outdoor loveseat with an amazing view of Osaka’s skyline. He leaned against the rail, taking small sips of his beer as his mind wandered, filing through the memories of the past month. 

He hadn’t even noticed the wetness of his lashes as Johnny’s face flashed in his mind. He hadn’t noticed the trail of a hot tear as he recalled his warm embrace. He hadn’t noticed the drip of it off his chin as their final conversation replayed once more. 

“I’m so sorry.”

The feeling of an arm circling around his frame was what snapped him back to reality. Yuta slowly pushed his head down to rest on his shoulder wordlessly, his own can of beer in his other hand. 

“I didn’t see you when I woke up.”

He sniffed quietly. “I just needed some air to think.” 

“Okay. Just keep thinking then.” 

And they stood there in silence like that, Doyoung’s head resting on Yuta’s shoulder as they drank their thoughts away, just the two of them and the city. 

Doyoung hadn’t expected to awaken outside on the balcony, cans of beer discarded on the floor as he and Yuta snuggled on the loveseat under a light blanket. Yuta’s hair tickled his neck as he curled into Doyoung’s body warmth, his legs propped up on the chair like a giant cat. 

Doyoung felt like he could hardly breathe with how close the other was, his heart threatening to jump out of his chest with every small movement from him. He tried to recall the previous night and how they ended up like this, but came up blank after their second can each. He must’ve fallen asleep on Yuta, that was the only logical explanation. 

It didn’t take long for the older to awaken, eyes shooting open as he realised the position they were in. 

“Oops, I wonder how that happened.” Yuta laughed nervously, standing up to stretch out his aching muscles. They had slept pretty cramped together so it wasn’t a surprise. Doyoung followed suit, folding the blanket up before loosening his shoulder that had become numb under Yuta’s weight. 

They freshened up pretty quickly for the day, Doyoung fishing out some clothes from the open suitcase in the corner of the living room. 

Considering Yuta had virtually nothing in his fridge, they settled on eating breakfast at a restaurant just down the road. It was a pretty eventless morning, with the two of them discussing possible places to visit as they practically inhaled their food. Yuta turned out to really be a great tour guide, pointing out all the best places to visit and having enough knowledge to easily separate things into days, so they were visiting places that were closer to each other on the same days. 

Their first few days involved visiting Osaka Castle, one of the many places Yuta was insistent on seeing considering it was Osaka’s main attraction. Doyoung’s jaw dropped upon laying eyes on the monumental building with all its glory and detail. Yuta had grinned at his reaction, looping their arms together as he pulled him around the grounds. 

“We can ride on the golden wasen around the place!” He had said, pointing excitedly to the golden boat as it sailed through the clear waters of the castle moat. Doyoung hadn’t bothered to protest despite his slight seasickness, figuring it wouldn’t be so bad that he’d want to throw up. 

He was wrong, of course. The minute they had laid foot in the gozabune, his hands latched onto Yuta’s arm, nails digging into his skin in urgency at every sway. 

“This was a bad idea…”

Yuta looked at him is surprise, clearly not expecting such a reaction from the younger. “Are you scared?” 

Doyoung could only whine. “I may suffer from slight seasickness?” 

“How come you didn’t say anything you idiot? Wait, let’s just-“ But the boat had already begun to sail away from the dock, making it too late for them to get off. 

Doyoung sent an apologetic look to Yuta, willing his hands to let go of his shirt despite the shaking of his frame. Yuta clearly noticed, grabbing his hand to entwine them as Doyoung took a deep breath. 

“You’ll be fine. It’ll be done before you know it and I’m right here.” 

Somehow those words felt comforting to the nervous wreck that was Doyoung in that moment. He thought that was simply just the Yuta effect. 

Although they spent many days out and about, exploring the sights that Osaka had to offer, there were also some where they just sat at home under the cool breeze of the fan. 

Yuta had managed to give Doyoung a good introduction to the world of anime and they had settled on binge watching One Piece for a good couple of days. Considering the sheer amount of episodes they had to race through, Yuta had said they were doing pretty well, sacrificing sleep to scream at the screen as Luffy ended up making yet another reckless decision. 

“You know, he reminds me of you,” Doyoung commented, trying his best to lick up the melting ice lolly in his hands before it dripped all over him. 

“Who? Luffy?” Yuta looked up from the manga he had been reading whilst he lay on his stomach on the floor. Apparently he was more than capable of watching anime and reading a completely separate manga at the same time. 

“Yeah. Smiles all the time, makes random last minute decisions, takes practically everyone under his wing. That’s basically you.” He waved the ice lolly in Yuta’s direction as he cracked up, rolling on the floor in laughter. 

“I’m not the one who randomly booked tickets to Japan without any plan. Who’s the last minute one here?” 

“And I’m not the one who randomly told someone to stay at their place for the summer with no repayment and only one bedroom.” 

“Having company for the summer is enough repayment, I don’t need anything more. And random decisions are the best decisions! We’re having a great time now, aren’t we?”

Doyoung beamed at him warmly, knowing he wouldn’t be so happy now if it wasn’t for the other saving him. “Yeah we are, we really are.” 

“Let’s go to the beach.” 

Now that Doyoung thought about it, it was strange that they hadn’t visited the beach yet. In the height of summer when everyone was hot and sticky and needed a refreshing swim, the beach was always the place to go, and yet they hadn’t been once in the last 3 weeks. 

Yuta had stayed true to his promise of taking Doyoung everywhere he could. Their visit to Universal Studios had been particularly memorable, with Yuta forcing Doyoung to wear a pair of circle framed glasses and a Ravenclaw robe as they walked around the ‘Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ part of the park. Yuta himself had chosen to don a Slytherin robe, complete with his own mug of butterbeer that had ended up half covering his top lip. Doyoung had argued that Hufflepuff seemed to suit Yuta more, but the Japanese man wouldn’t have it. 

They had ventured around various shrines and up the Tsutenkaku tower, tried all the various types of Japanese cuisine that Osaka had to offer and made the most of each day, and yet strangely enough the prospect of visiting the beach simply hadn’t come up til now. 

Packing their bags wasn’t difficult and soon enough they were on the first train to Nishiki beach, the closest place to smell the sea breeze. It wasn’t too long of a journey, only around 45 minutes and by now Doyoung was very much used to it with how much he and Yuta had been travelling around. 

They had passed the time talking about their plans once they got home, the end of summer looming closer and closer than Doyoung would’ve liked, and playing card games with the pack Yuta had brought along with him. 

As the sea came into view, Doyoung’s excitement rose. He found himself pressed against the glass just as he had the first time they had taken the train into Osaka. Three weeks had passed since then and yet the wonder and awe never seemed to wear off. Japan just seemed to be a magical place. 

The feeling of the hot grains of sand against his bare feet was foreign and strange. It took a few wriggles of his toes to get accustomed to the sensation, and by then Yuta had already stripped off his top and ran to jump into the sea. His head disappeared for a few seconds before finally bobbing back up, the blonde strands sticking to his face and neck. 

“Come on!” 

Doyoung couldn’t tell where the sun was in the moment, above him or there in the sea, beaming and soaked, with the pearliest white teeth and the warmest smile he had ever seen. He found himself pulling off his own T-shirt, throwing it onto the sand where the rest of their stuff lay before jumping in after him. 

Salt invaded all his senses, pulling him into its warm embrace as he got further and further into the blue. He could stay there forever, under the ripples of the waves and sun, if it wasn’t for the burning in his chest as his body ached for oxygen. 

Just as he had done many times before, Yuta grabbed at his arm, pulling him up to the surface with a laugh. “I thought you were going to swim away forever for a minute there.” 

Doyoung was a sputtering mess, hand coming up to wipe his burning eyes though it made no difference. “I felt like it to be honest.”

“And leave me to play all on my own? That’s not very nice,” he pouted playfully. Doyoung hadn’t noticed how Yuta’s hands lay on his hips, pulling them close, almost chest to chest, until then. Their faces were only inches apart and Doyoung could make out every single detail of Yuta’s face, the way he had a little mole on his cheek, the arch of his nose, the sparkle of his eyes. 

His vision gravitated lower, towards the curve of his lips and Doyoung could tell Yuta would be able to sense the speeding up of his heart if they were even the slightest bit closer. 

Shit. 

His hands flailed, splashing water at Yuta as an attempt to hide his flustered state behind playfulness. The older jumped back with a laugh, trying to escape Doyoung’s endless assaults and countering with his own. 

When did I start feeling like this towards him?

He couldn’t pinpoint the exact moment, he just knew it had been a while. Their time messing around in the water and trying to bury each other in the sand served as a good distraction from the panic that was beginning to settle in his stomach. 

Doyoung had only just broken up with Johnny around 2 months ago. He had been crying over him just 3 weeks ago. How did his heart seem to change so quickly? How could anyone have that much power over him? 

But Doyoung already knew the answer. It was Yuta. It was only Yuta who could somehow make him feel this way. Yuta with his endless warmth and friendliness, Yuta with his obsession with anime and manga, with his competitive streak to win at anything, with his love and passion for teaching and playing football, with his never ending fondness for his home. 

It was just Yuta. Easy and simple. 

As they lay on the sand, tired out from running around for hours, a couple of voices called Yuta’s name. He sat up, searching for the source before finally spotting a crowd of men, all waving him over. 

“Hold on, they’re my high school friends. I’ll be back in a minute.” 

Doyoung simply nodded, watching him stand up to run in their direction, exchanging hugs and handshakes as they chattered loudly in Japanese. 

If there was one thing Doyoung regretted in his last few weeks here, it had been not brushing up on his Japanese. He would have thought their endless hours of watching anime would have helped but unfortunately languages were far more difficult for Doyoung to pick up on, compared to Yuta who excelled in everything.

They looked over in his direction briefly, Yuta’s eyes widening for a second at something they said before turning around to smack one in the arm. Doyoung tried his best to look away as if he hadn’t noticed, opting to play with a shell he had picked up earlier on. 

A few more minutes passed before they finally said their farewells, the group waving at Doyoung with grins as they walked off. Yuta laughed nervously, diving down into the sand next to him as Doyoung complained. 

“Sorry, they wouldn’t stop talking.” 

Doyoung brushed off the sand Yuta had pushed on him with a scowl, before turning to face the other. “What were they saying about me? Don’t lie and say they weren’t, you guys weren’t very subtle.”

Yuta groaned, covering his face in his hands as he lay on his back. “Ugh, it’s really stupid, I’m sorry.” 

“Tell me what it is and I’ll tell you if it’s stupid.” He was getting more curious now. 

Yuta sighed, not daring to lift his hands from his face. “They asked if we were dating. Said we looked super cozy together and wanted to know if that was why I ditched the wedding.” 

Doyoung inhaled sharply. Of course they would think that, the two weren’t acting in any way to say otherwise. 

“Well, I mean they weren’t wrong about you ditching the wedding for me.”

Yuta nodded silently, rubbing his eyes before looking at him. “Anyways, I said we weren’t dating. They reminded me that it’s the Daigaku festival tonight though, do you want to go?” 

Doyoung cursed at the disappointment settling in his stomach. Yuta denying it was only natural, they weren’t dating. Doyoung’s feelings were one sided, he was sure they were. Yuta was just so overly friendly with everyone that it seemed that way to people around them. 

“Yeah sure, let’s go,” he said, voice a lot more quieter, almost a whisper as he bit his lip, trying to stop getting upset at the inevitable truth. 

~

Their journeyed back in relative silence. Doyoung claimed he was exhausted and Yuta went along with it, dozing off on the train. His gaze remained glued on the scenery passing by as he tried his hardest not to stare at the peacefully sleeping figure next to him. 

Yuta’s hair had dried off, small grains of sand still stuck to his blonde locks but less visible compared to the mess that was Doyoung’s hair. He knew he’d have to shampoo multiple times to get it all out completely and he was looking forward to feeling less sticky. 

It was a wonder how Yuta could simply sit there with his arms crossed, body not moving at all as he slept through the train ride. He didn’t seem to be uncomfortable in the slightest and it made Doyoung recall that night they slept on the balcony. Yuta had been completely curled up into his side then, as if he needed someone or something to cling onto, and yet he was fine now. 

Don’t even let your mind go there. 

He knew not to get his hopes up or to jump to conclusions. The last thing Doyoung wanted to experience was a second heartbreak, even if he was sure it would come eventually when their time together in Osaka was up. 

The apartment was relatively quiet when they got home, the hum of the fan being the only sign of life. Doyoung called for the shower first, practically running to the bathroom. The pelt of warm water was just what he needed after such a long day and he made sure to thoroughly scrub at his scalp to get it as sand free as possible. 

He was out within 15 minutes, slightly longer than usual but not long enough to calm his thoughts. As he entered the bedroom, his eyes landed on the pair of yukatas on the bed, one blue and one purple. Yuta turned to look at him, laughing as he ruffled Doyoung’s now clean locks. 

Doyoung wanted to make him stop so badly, to grab onto his hand and tell him to stop sending his heart into overdrive but all he could do was clench his eyes shut till he was done. 

“You’re finally clean! I’ve taken out the two yukatas I have, you can choose which one you want, I don’t mind.” 

Doyoung scanned the two of them, fingers running across the fine fabric as he recalled the picture of Yuta from before. 

“You can take the blue one. You look good in blue,” he said before he could stop himself, turning to look at Yuta’s surprised expression. 

Yuta coughed, eyes wide before turning away to gather his clothes. “Uh yeah, sure. I’ll take the blue then. You can have the purple. I’ll help you get it on once I’m out.” And then he scurried away.

Doyoung stared in the direction he ran off, blinking as he tried to make sense of what had happened. Things seemed different between the two of them, slightly more tense than usual. He hoped it wouldn’t stay like this, and he could only owe it to his realisation of his feelings that were making their interactions strange. 

Snap out of it, you idiot. Don’t ruin this. 

Yuta came out freshly showered not long after, wearing a loose tank and shorts as he towel dried his hair. Doyoung looked up from where he sat on the bed, fiddling with the obi, and sent him a tight smile. 

As Yuta took hold of the purple Yukata and Doyoung stepped forward, random small talk finally began to flow between the two of them, making Doyoung internally sigh in relief. He was so tired of the sudden awkwardness and didn’t think he could handle any more. 

As Yuta adjusted the material on Doyoung’s shoulders, his hands skimmed lightly past his bare skin, making the younger shiver at the contact. If Yuta had noticed, he hadn’t shown any sign of it as he continued to secure the purple fabric, wrapping the obi around his waist and tying it into a knot. 

It felt so strange to be in such traditional Japanese clothing, despite having worn a hanbok before during New Years. He felt somewhat more in tuned with the culture, as if he was truly experiencing it now from just wearing their clothing. This was Yuta’s culture. His home and his childhood. 

It was effortless for Yuta to put on the yukata himself, probably from years of practice. He looked good in the blue, just as Doyoung had expected. More than good. He quite literally knocked the air out of Doyoung’s lungs. Yuta had styled his hair back, tying it up into the smallest of ponytails before slipping some sandals on and offering Doyoung a pair. 

The shrine wasn’t too far from Yuta’s apartment, a convenient 10 minute walk at most. The streets were filled with people in similar attire, all excited and full of life. Children screamed and chased each other around, threading through the throngs of festival-goers with little care. 

Along the streets there were numerous stalls, lit up and bright as the vendors called for people to try their food. Yuta pointed out to the takoyaki stalls, pulling Doyoung along in excitement as he ordered some before they continued on through the festival. 

They stopped at various points, kneeling down to catch goldfish or throwing hoops to earn a prize. Yuta did particularly well at the games, grinning as he’d earn prize after prize even though he’d just give them to a passing child a little while later. 

“You’re wasting all the money you spent by giving them away,” Doyoung said, watching a little girl run off with a teddy bear Yuta had given her. 

“It’s fine, not like I was going to use it anyways. I just wanted to play the games really.”

Doyoung rolled his eyes but chuckled nonetheless, not expecting anything different from him. Once again, for the tenth time that night, Yuta grabbed hold of his hand, dragging him along to another prize stall. 

“Look Doie, it’s you!” Doyoung’s heart leaped at the nickname as he looked up to see the rabbit plushie Yuta was pointing to. 

“What do you mean that’s me? I’m not a rabbit!” He huffed, but Yuta had already paid and began throwing a ball at the target. Sure enough, he won once again, and although he could get a bigger prize, he settled for the smaller rabbit. 

“There you go, a bunny for the bunny.” He held it next to Doyoung’s face, giggling at the resemblance before stuffing it into his hands. 

An announcement started, letting the festival goers know that the fireworks would be launching soon, and Yuta cheered along with the other people around them. 

“I know somewhere we can go that’s usually free and you can see everything,” he said, nudging Doyoung in the direction they were heading. 

They quickly snaked through the crowd once more, Doyoung clinging onto the fabric of Yuta’s yukata so as to not lose him until the finally reached a small hill. With a few painful steps up, they found themselves surely on the perfect spot to see everything. Doyoung could make out all the stalls they had passed, the lanterns and procession that moved along the roads and the spot where the fireworks would be launched. 

“You know,” he began as they settled into the grass next to each other, the bunny sat beside him.“This really has been the best summer of my life.” 

He turned to Yuta, not really caring much about missing the fireworks as they began to shoot off into the night sky. “Thank you for bringing me here with you. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier.” 

The other smiled, bumping his shoulder into Doyoung’s. “Well Osaka is pretty magical, you can’t come here and not have the time of your life.” 

His grin made Doyoung’s heart stutter. There was just something about Yuta that made it so difficult for him to keep his mouth shut. Doyoung was horrible at keeping things internalised and not being able to talk to his about his feelings felt the worst when he could open up to Yuta about virtually everything else. 

He took a deep breath, trying to steady his nerves. Doyoung hadn’t planned on saying anything. He had thought he’d be okay with just pining quietly, but seeing Yuta so full of life at the festival had made him lose all self restraint. He couldn’t keep smiling as if Yuta’s touch didn’t set him on fire, even if it meant things would get weird between them.  “Osaka is magical, but that’s not what made it the best. It was being with you. You added the magic to Osaka for me.” 

Yuta froze, eyes wide for a few seconds in shock, before he leaned forward. Their fingers had unknowingly thread together on the grass and their grip only tightened. 

“You know you’ve been driving me crazy all summer,” he whispered, now a hair’s length away from Doyoung. “It’s been so fucking hard not to kiss you this whole time.”

It felt like his whole world was spinning with giddiness. “Who told you not to?”

And then finally, Doyoung got a taste of the fireworks he had been yearning for this whole time. Yuta’s lips were soft, slightly cherry flavoured from his lip balm and they tasted so good between his teeth. His hand came up behind Doyoung’s neck, pulling their bodies closer their tongues met, mapping along the roofs of their mouths. 

Doyoung pulled back slightly for air, only for Yuta to grip his hair tighter and ask for more, one more kiss and then another. 

“Been,” a kiss, “waiting,” another kiss, “so long,” one more, “for this.” 

Doyoung sighed against Yuta’s lips as he spoke, the most content he had been in a while. He couldn’t ever imagine being like this with him, in his arms, kissing him so feverishly in Osaka of all places. 

“You know I had the stupidest crush on you in college,” he laughed, pulling back from Yuta and resting their foreheads together. “I used to just stare at you through your soccer matches even though I had no fucking clue what was going on.” 

Yuta burst out laughing, hugging Doyoung close. “Really? I thought I was the only one! You used to always hang out with Jaehyun after our matches and I’d just sit there dying to go with you guys so we could talk more. I always thought you were there for him.” 

“That’s what I told him.” Doyoung snorted. “Honestly, I just wanted to see you play. There’s no way I’d put myself through that torture for Jae.” 

Hey! How are we going to make this work if you’re hating on soccer already?”

The thought of this working made Doyoung grin. “It’s okay, we can just bond over anime instead,” he laughed, pressing another kiss to his lips. 

They stayed up there for a while longer, unable to keep their hands off each other until the sounds of fireworks finally died down. It became obvious that the two of them shared little to no interest in the festival anymore, so they made a quick journey back to the apartment. 

The minute the door shut behind Doyoung, he found himself crowded against the wall, Yuta’s hands hot on his waist as he peppered kisses down his neck. 

“You look so fucking hot in a yukata you have no idea,” he groaned into Doyoung’s skin, pushing him further into the apartment. 

“Says you, I knew blue was your colour.” 

They found themselves in the bedroom in no time, with Doyoung collapsing into the bed as Yuta pushed him down. His hands made quick work of the obi, pulling it off without a hitch before discarding the rest of the yukata. 

Hot lips roamed over Doyoung’s skin, making his toes curl up in delight as he moved to wrestle Yuta’s own yukata off his shoulders. They were both bare to each other in no time, only the light of the moon filtering in as Yuta stared down at his face. 

“Is it too early to say I love you?” 

Doyoung’s eyes widened, glazing over slightly as Yuta looked at him like he held the world in his palm. He hadn’t ever experienced anyone staring at him so fondly, not even Johnny who had once claimed he’d like to marry him. No, Yuta was no Johnny, and he didn’t need to be. He was so different and so perfect, and everything Doyoung didn’t know he needed. 

“No it’s not. I love you. I only realised today but I love you so much already.” 

Yuta brushed his thumb under Doyoung’s eye, kissing the tears away as he entered him, slowly at first as Doyoung let out a moan. He was so careful, so loving as he worked into him, short thrusts to start with before they grew longer as he hit just the right spot to make Doyoung writhe with pleasure. 

“I love you.” He repeated again and again, making sure to kiss him each time as he reached his climax, releasing into the condom with a groan as Doyoung felt more tears well up in his eyes. 

He came not long after, with Yuta’s gentle hands working him through it, pumping his length till he couldn’t hold back anymore. White strings of hot cum stuck to his and Yuta’s chests, as he pressed a kiss behind Yuta’s neck in a small thanks. 

Within a few minutes of Yuta cleaning them up before returning to bed, the two found themselves staring at each other with soft touches here and there. Doyoung’s fingers traced Yuta’s face the way he had ached to at the beach, loving every little feature he could find. 

He felt so, so content and warm, the happiest he had been in so long, or perhaps ever. Just the two of them alone in bed, with nothing else but the moon. 

The remainder of their last few days in Osaka together consisted of late mornings in bed, Yuta hand-making takoyaki for Doyoung and the two of them roaming around buying souvenirs for their family and friends. 

Yuta’s family were apparently on a cruise at the moment, which explained their absence throughout the summer and Yuta’s plea to not be alone. He had wanted to come home to Japan no matter what, even if his family weren’t there, but had dreaded the long days spent in solitude in his small apartment. Apparently they had saved each other. 

They had been in Osaka a month when Doyoung received a phone call. They had been in bed, lazily reading through the final volumes of Naruto when his ringtone had cut through the comfortable silence. 

Doyoung felt his voice had going slightly higher as he answered it, expressions changing comically as he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He hung up with a final ‘thank you’ and looked up at Yuta with a blank expression. 

“That was the company I’ve always dreamed of working at...I had applied to them when I had graduated and was rejected…”

“Okay, and?”

“They’ve called me in for an interview. Said my application was one of the strongest.” 

Yuta’s face lit up as he jumped out of bed to pull Doyoung into his arms, lifting him up in excitement. “That’s amazing Doie! You did it! You’re going to get the job!”

“Well I mean, I need to pass the interview first,” he chuckled, winding his arms around Yuta’s neck. 

His boyfriend scoffed. “ Please . They’d have to be crazy to reject you. I know you’ll pass it, I just know !”

And if Yuta knew, then Doyoung couldn’t help but believe him. Yuta seemed to be pretty good at judging these things and hadn’t been wrong once. There was always something about his words that made Doyoung think them to be true. Perhaps it was just because it was Yuta.

Just Yuta. 

And that was enough.