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Be Still My Fluttering Heart

Chapter Text

     You didn't have anything to say about the gap-toothed boy Joshu introduced a few days ago, just another one of your new acquaintances you concluded. You never noticed the split colored eyes boring on your face and the slightly out-of-place sailor cap that seemed to fit him perfectly. Like a person being squashed into the rush of the train, he was just normal.

     But now, why were you thinking about how his hand perfectly fitting yours?

     The dry and cold air of the air conditioning feels harsh against your burning cheeks, in contrast to the warm heat around your right hand which felt heavenly. "What do you want?" He points to the variety of parfait on the menu and then moves to discuss the fake parfait in the glass.

     "That's the melon one. Dad recommended it to me when I first came here," he says, eyes gleaming at the display. You rip your attention from his hold on your hand and stare at the delicious replica of said dessert. Honestly, what he would recommend, even the most bizarre of dishes, you would get. 

     "Then I'll take it," you reply, pulling out your wallet before getting stopped by his other hand encasing yours once again. "I'll pay," he says. Josuke turns his back, your hands still laced together as he fishes for his wallet. You eye the bills in it, eyes bulging out at how little they were.

     "That can just pay for one!" You try to cut him off by waving your hands and explaining that you don't mind paying whatsoever. He looks at you puzzled, "I don't mind sharing," he says so nonchalantly. There goes another wave of heat through you-- does he not know the effects of those one-liners on you?!

     Coughing into your free hand, you joke that you weren't expecting a date to which he replies with, " Oh! It isn't... I mean if you want to think about it like that, then I won't judge." That leaves you sputtering some form of excuse.

     Of course, you didn't even think one bit that this was a date; just a day with your gap-toothed cutie, nothing special.

     You zone out as the cashier lady hands you a number and asks to wait for the melon goodness to be delivered by one of the staff. Josuke pulls you to a nearby table and sits himself down across from you, disappointingly letting go of his hold on you. Jutting your lips out at the lack of his skin on yours-- you shouldn't but couldn't help it-- you plop down at the soft cushion.

     The speakers play a love song as you bask in the atmosphere. "So how was your day, Josuke?" You turn to face him, knees bouncing up and down. "I'm enjoying it so far," he breathes. "It's more relaxing than staying at the Higishikata house." He plays with his hat, checking the design to pass the time. You were glad his attention was elsewhere so you didn't have to hide the fact that you were ogling him.

     What were you doing? Do you like him? You inhale sharply, flustered by your inquiry. Maybe? You close your eyes and try to distract yourself. "Are you acquaintances with Joshu?" His voice sliced through the air like a knife. Out of all the people he could talk about, why did it have to be him, you think. "Schoolmates then he decided to not be a weirdo and be friends with me," you smile. He mirrors it, his adorable tooth gap showing making your heart flutter, "He doesn't seem so fond of me" the boy mutters absentmindedly.

     "He thinks you're stealing Yasuho from him."

     "I'm not trying to."

     "Then who do you like?!" You slap a hand around your mouth to still yourself-- you weren't supposed to say that. Slowly removing your hand, you spit out a flurry of apologies. The sailor cap-wearing boy still ponders, "I like you though," he suddenly blurts out. "But--"

     "My little brother, what are you doing here?"

     A new voice silences you both. "Jobin," Josuke starts, eyeing the melon parfait in his hands. "Is that for us?" The green-haired man smiles, sly and devious as placing the desert down on your table. You catch his gaze on you, reciprocating with a slight bow of your head. "Is this your girlfriend, Josuke? I thought you already had Yasuho." The man named Jobin teases, pinching Josuke's cheek in mock affection.

     "She's--" You cough, not wanting to hear his stance on who you were to him in front of his supposed "brother". The man nods, hand under his chin as he thinks on Josuke’s answer. “Ah, my little brother is starting to grow up!” He suddenly turns to you. “Who do I thank for that?”

     Your eyes drift to Josuke, not sure whether to answer Joubin’s question. There was thick tension between the two of them and you did not want to get involved, you know what was following Josuke for the past couple of days. The boy quickly understood your silent plead, “She doesn’t need to answer anything she doesn’t want to, brother,” he sounded, eyeing him as tries to sit down next to you. “She doesn’t want you to sit next to her either.” 

     That escalated quickly, you say to yourself, gnawing at your cheek at the heavy atmosphere that made itself known. Thumbs twiddling, you feel the older man relent and finally leaves, not without an “Always the gentleman" line as his footsteps padded away.

     You eye your companion. His jaw taught and was nibbling on his lower lip. Cute. “Sorry ‘bout that.” His smile miraculously returns, easing you back to the mood before the mishap. “No problem,” you assured, hand ready to pick up the spoon and dive into the delicacy.

     Josuke steals a glance as you push a spoonful of the parfait into your mouth, relishing in your charming gasps of surprise. He doesn’t stop the smile pulling on his lips, fingers drumming on his thigh. Soft & Wet was behind him, popping the bubbles he had created. He didn’t know what Jobin’s deal was, putting small glass shards in the parfait unbeknownst to you. The boy joyfully accepts the spoon of safe melon goodness you offered.

     He didn’t know why he felt something tugging on his chest when the beetle-avid man-- though having some form of loyalty to his wife-- started to focus on you when you cowered like a meek kitten in his gaze. One thing he knows is, he didn’t like it when Jobin started focusing on you.

 

❛ ━━━━━━・❪ ❁ ❫ ・━━━━━━ ❜

 

     “That was too much sugar,” you sputtered. Josuke just chuckles at you, using the umbrella he had borrowed from the café as a cane while walking alongside you. The radio mentioned a slight shower later in the afternoon, and you being conscious of your health asked Josuke for an umbrella from the staff. He was a part of the Higashikata family so he could ask.

     He watches you catch up to his stride, cursing his long legs under your breath. “Where do you want to go next?” He walks a bit faster, you try to match it. His chest flutters at the display, you look like a chick trying to follow its mother.

     “Is there a local park nearby? I wanna sit down for a while,” you suggested, fishing for your phone to look at the GPS application. Those split colored eyes stared down at you, noting how your lips formed a thin line while you worked out the location of your next destination.

     Josuke points to a nearby bus stop with a bench, “If you wanna sit down, there’s a bench right there,” he says, gently grabbing you hand and starts stalking towards it. He hears you let out a small yet discernible gasp but does not bother.

     You get sat down on a slightly warm bench as the boy sits next to you, leaving no space for anything. Elbows were touching, and all you could do about it was scream internally at the minuscule contact which he ignores.

     You couldn’t face him now, not with those lavish thoughts of him putting his arm around your waist or caressing your cheek as he leans down and finally presses those thick lips against--

     “Your strap’s undone!”

     You just stare at him dumbly as he kneels, examining the shoes you were reserving wearing for the occasion. Your dopamine-overdosed brain couldn’t process the reality that you were walking around with partially dangerous heels that, at any moment, could trip you.

     If Josuke were to catch you though, any broken shoe and action of tripping is appreciated.

     The Higishikata boy holds the flimsy faux leather strap in his hands and tries to maneuver it to close the ankle strap, tongue peeking out in concentration. Can he stop being adorable for once?! You breathe out a shaky sigh and attempt to still your ever persisting heart from leaping out and hugging the boy in front of you. For the record, the way he seems to kneel reminds you of marriage proposals.

     “The s-strap goes here… and--!” You quickly bow down, pointing at the hook of the shoe. Raising your eyes to continue your explanation, your throat feels like it was stuffed with cotton at the sight in your front.

     Josuke was still looking down, but you were face to face; inches away from letting your lips touch. Your eyes immediately dart from his lips to his unique eyes, repressing the urge to pull him closer. The boy was confused by your sudden silence and moves his eyes to you, mouth open to ask before closing.

     Were you staring at his lips? He tilts his head cutely, pushing his face closer to yours, eliciting a squeak of fright. Your face up close looked pretty, he thought, wetting his lips unintentionally. “So I put the strap in there then what?” The boy waves the piece of leather around. You brush a lock of hair away from your face, “Yo-you then--”

     Something wet hits your cheek. You pull back and wipe it off, until another one hits, and again. “Crap!” Josuke stands up, reaching for the umbrella. Quickly fixing the strap on your shoe, lingering feelings of dismay welling in your being before shading yourself from the rain. Curse this small excuse of a roof.

     The weather forecast from earlier must’ve been joking when they said it was just a shower. Josuke pulls off his trademark hat, patting his slightly wet hair, some of it curling back to their natural state. Your fingers itch to brush them back, maybe play with them as his head rests on your lap on a warm sunny day. He feels your gaze on him, somehow too shy to ask for the sudden hard attention on himself.

     "If I may interrupt, you lovely couple." An old woman's voice says. You turn to see her, damp from thankfully avoiding the majority of the harsh raindrops. "Can I borrow the umbrella for just a second to cross the street? My husband and grandchild must be worried sick if I were to come home late today," she asks, motioning to the umbrella on Josuke's hand.

     "Of course you can!" You say that a bit too enthusiastically, pushing the boy closer to the woman and plopping down on the covered bench. He offers an arm to which the sweet woman holds and readies to cross the street. You hear some of their conversation, most of it being toned down because of the raindrops.

     The two manage to cross the street, the elderly woman bowing repeatedly at the boy before waving to you. 

     Couple, huh? You smile like a fool at the assumption.

     What would you have to do to get called that?

     Josuke returns to your side, closing the umbrella and sits near you. "The rain's pouring, huh?" He voices, tapping his foot on the gray pavement distractedly. "So much for the trip to the park," you mutter disheartened. “It’s okay! We should be safe together instead of walking for who knows how long in the pouring rain!” Josuke pipes up, tapping the umbrella on the ground to remove the excess water. You look away bashfully, “If you think it’s okay then…”

     Gasping silently at the shiver than ran down your spine, you huddle closer to the slightly soaked boy, trying to garner much of his body heat even though he was out and about in the rain. The sailor attired fellow takes notice and puts his arm around you.

     “Cold, huh?” He grips your arm tightly, prompting you to rest your head on his shoulder, humming his famous ‘I Like Large Fries’ song under his breathe. Blushing seemed to be your norm, you were thankful for the heat but the distance between the two of you proved to be a challenge. “We can wait…for the rain to stop and then… go home,” you suggest, your tone on go home sinking. Time does fly by when you're with Josuke. And it’ll be days before you get to hang out again.

     You press your lips tightly, the situation dawning on you. The repressed stress would be back, those strict deadlines placed back on your shoulders again. Huddling close to the boy, you’ll try to not think of time while you’re next to him. Josuke leans his head on yours, watching the continuous platter of the rain in comfortable silence.

     As the rain starts to let up, both of you start walking to your house. Your steps lacking behind-- call it dragging. The sky was tinted orange just as you both reach your humble abode. Gnawing on your cheek, you face Josuke before darting down to his shoes.

     What do you say now? I still want to see you, please come to my house and let’s spend the night on crappy movies and chips? Can we date?

     “Let’s hang out again next weekend when you're free!”

     His voice was a break in your thinking. You nod lifelessly, your feet not wanting to move from where they were. “I’m gonna miss hanging out with you! But I know you’re busy,” he voices, moving to give you a hug-- which you take advantage of and get closer to him. His smell fills your being, prompting you to nuzzle him before disappointingly pulling away.

     “Promise me you’ll take me out next weekend! Promise me!” You thrust your pinky finger to him, wiggling it at his face. Josuke stares at you for a millisecond, his pinky enveloping yours. “Promise.” He flashes a gap-toothed grin. Your stomach was doing flips and your heart flutters shamelessly.

     Stress and work be damned. You were more excited to see Josuke again.

Chapter Text

     Furious scribbling ceases just as you throw your pen down, heaving a heavy sigh of relief. Your schoolwork for this week was finally done, and on a Wednesday too! While drumming your fingers on the desk, you ponder about the days ahead.

     Your classroom situation wasn’t the best, but you had to deal with it.

     Other than your diploma, what’s the purpose of you going there anyway? The backs of your palms rubbed your eyes furiously, trying not to remember the amounts of silent tension in that 4-walled room. It seemed like everyone was fighting each other for the top spot, you were more than happy just to graduate!

     Stars and galaxies play around in your vision as you exhale harshly. Slumping back to your uncomfortable chair, you catch the sight of some coupons you got. It was for Sesame Honey Cafe’s infamous candy. Probably the best time to use them.

 

     You look outside the window. It was already nighttime. Checking your clock too, it read 7:48. You didn't have that many classes tomorrow morning, and going there served a purpose-- mostly as a distraction. You stood up decided, taking a few seconds to stand still then started moving to find an appropriate attire to go out with other than an oversized shirt and your underwear.

     After tucking the coupons in your sweatshirt pocket, you press the pedal of your bicycle, whooshing into the chilly night to your destination. Thoughts about a cap-wearing boy entertaining you throughout the ride to the cafe.

 

•:•.•:•.•:•:•:•:•:•:•:•☾☼☽•:•.•:•.•:•:•:•:•:•:•:•

now playing: sunshine - hoody ft. crush

•:•.•:•.•:•:•:•:•:•:•:•☾☼☽•:•.•:•.•:•:•:•:•:•:•:•

 

     With your means of transportation safely secured to a bike stand, you walk into the cafe. The smell of coffee and sweets hits your nose, you having to inhale more of it to savor the comforting scent that cafes always seem to have.

     You walk to the counter, recalling your order monotonously, pushing the coupons to the man-in-charge. He nods then asks if you would like something other than the candies. He mentions that they have a new melon milkshake, made with melons straight from Higashikata Fruit Parlor. That made you slip back into reality.

     “Let’s hang out again next weekend when you're free!” You remembered his parting words. 

     Biting your lip to stop smiling like a creep in public, you nod at the man's suggestion, insides fluttering at the mere thought of Josuke. He was such a good distraction from your lackluster schedule of going in and out of classes.

     From his quirky jests and unique appearance, he was a slice of heaven.

     Suddenly, you hear your name being called and it was not from the man behind the counter, “Nice seeing you here!” Your heart summersaults at the familiar voice, your cheeks burning as you turn to face the owner of the voice.

     “Good evening, Josuke!” Your voice cracks in between words. You attempt to mask it with a shaky smile.

      What a coincidence!

     “Buying some sesame seed dumplings too, huh?” He points to the small stack of candies on the counter. You answer him, "I got some coupons, so I might as well use them."

     Your hand moves to your pocket to fetch some bills for paying, your face falling when you realize there's nothing there. "Are you kidding me?" You groaned, patting your pockets again. The boy stares in confusion. He walks to you, "Everything good?" 

     "I left my wallet at home," you grumbled, rubbing the space between your brows in irk. Josuke immediately pulls out some yen, to which you step in and attempt to convince him not to pay. "You already paid that one time!"

     "But you have no money," he states the obvious. Your cheeks burn in embarrassment from both your own stupidity and his kindness.

     Your hands cover your face as he gives the money to pay. "Thank you," you mutter when he finished his transaction. An awkward silence hung in the air as you both stare the man packing your treats and your milkshake to-go into a bag, giving it to you and Josuke the change.

     You bowed your head in thanks after receiving the bag containing the goodies. The chime on the door jingles as it signals your exit.

     Before another round of silence settles you try to break the ice. "Do wanna go to Lover's Cape with me?" You ask, crumpling the plastic in your hands at your shameless request. "I was thinking of going there 'cause..." He was probably busy.

     "No problem!" He replies almost instantly, grinning at you. 

     You sigh in relief, loosening your grip on the bag.

     Your eyes fall on your single passenger bicycle, cursing it under your breath. The time just trying to get there by foot would take the entire night--probably a whole day-- and you don’t want a leg cramp in the morning. He already said yes too...

     “We can’t take my bike,” you lament, kicking the pavement in annoyance. This is probably the last time hanging out with him and you really wanted to go to see the ocean. Damn it. Japan and their bike penalties*. 

     Josuke puts his hand to his chin, rubbing inquisitively. He marches up to the bike. “Who said we're going to get caught?”

     That caught you off guard. “What?”

     He smirked, “Who said we're not riding your bike to get there?” He asks for you to unlock the chains holding the bicycle to the stand. You gawk at him. There’s no way right? You placed your bag on the basket, trying to understand the situation.

 

•:•.•:•.•:•:•:•:•:•:•:•☾☼☽•:•.•:•.•:•:•:•:•:•:•:•

now playing: sunshine - hoody ft. crush

•:•.•:•.•:•:•:•:•:•:•:•☾☼☽•:•.•:•.•:•:•:•:•:•:•:•

 

     Now here you were, sitting behind a pedaling Josuke. It was a risky move, but after being so uptight this week, one risky act is nothing but a thrill.

     “Faster! We don’t want to pay a fee right?!” You teased, squealing when the winds were harsher against your skin. The lights on the streets passed by so quickly, it seemed kaleidoscopic.

     “HEY! STOP!”

     “Wah! Josuke FASTER! I don’t have money to pay!” You screeched. "I’m working on it,” he hollered over the wind, sending out Soft & Wet to stop the approaching policeman by stealing his eyesight, just for a while of course.

     You rejoiced when you heard the demanding voice fading away, leaving just the two of you in the evening. Josuke slows down, the chilly breeze brushing your bared legs. You looked like those couples from TV dramas with the way this whole thing was set up. Gushing over thought, you didn’t notice the looming Wall Eyes.

     “We need to find a way around them,” Josuke points out when you asked why you stopped. And when you did find a way, it was another speedy trip to the Lover’s Cape.

 

•:•.•:•.•:•:•:•:•:•:•:•☾☼☽•:•.•:•.•:•:•:•:•:•:•:•

now playing: sunshine - hoody ft. crush

•:•.•:•.•:•:•:•:•:•:•:•☾☼☽•:•.•:•.•:•:•:•:•:•:•:•

 

     The waves were crawling gently to the shore when you drew near. The breeze from the sea tickling you both while you try to find a place to sit, settling on the concrete. After taking in the smell of the ocean, your body relaxes, clutching your plastic bag to your chest. The sound of crashing waves was music to your ears.

     After parking your bicycle, Josuke finds you, not wanting to ruin the scenery with you looking out to the ocean. He doesn’t want to interrupt your relaxation but steals a quick glance at you ever so often after sitting down.

     “I should go out more often,” you mutter dreamily. “The night is so beautiful.” Josuke turns to you, catching that shine in your eyes and the tug on your lips. “Yeah,” he trails off. “It is.”

     And he wasn’t talking about the starry skies whatsoever.

     You pick up a tray of the candies, tearing off the plastic and picking up one of the dumplings. The boy blinks as you thrust the oblong to his lips, knocking on it as if you were asking to open them. He blinks before slowly parting his lips.

     “When you bite them, use your back teeth,” you remind. His lips suddenly closed down on your fingers.

     A wave of heat runs through you making you pull back your hand. Your shaking eyes quickly locks with his before breaking eye- contact and opening your mouth to follow up your reminder.

     “Make sure not to choke on the fillin--!”

     A spray of brown stops you. It came from the gap of his teeth. You stared at him, surprised. His eyes widened by a fraction before quickly swallowing it, trying not to choke at the not-so-chewed candy as it travels down his throat.

     “I’m sorry,” he stammered, hands coming to wipe the filing off your face. His thumbs rub the liquid off, you trembling in his gaze. “I--I should close my lips when…” He stops his mumbling when he feels you chuckling.

     When your eyes met, you let out a full laugh, your hands coming to hold his. His split-colored eyes bore into your face as you throw your head back in laughter. “It’s… it’s...” You couldn’t’ even finish a full sentence without getting interrupted by giggles.

     “...fine! It’s okay!” You reassured, chest heaving trying to hold back another wave of laughter. The boy lets out a relieved sigh, chuckling with you whilst wiping off the remaining sweet brown liquid. You relished his thumbs rubbing your cheeks, eyes sliding shut and trying to burn it into your memory.

     “Still, I’m really sorry." He pouts, wanting to cradle your face a little longer. You gave him a comforting smile, “That was the funniest thing that could happen!” Eyeing the filing he didn’t notice trickling down his lips, you beamed. “You even have some of it here!” You drew your lip between your teeth and swiped the liquid off then moved to rest your thumb on his chartreuse green lip.

     It didn’t occur to the both of you that you were cradling each other's heads, only realizing when you held your gazes until it registered in your minds. You brought your hands back to your body, averting your attention to the piece of algae floating in the waters to push down the thought of kissing him right then and there.

     Josuke held it a bit longer, though. He liked the way you looked at him. It sent a delightful shiver down his spine when you were looking at him like that, with eyes full of pure love.

     A few minutes of silence pass until you scoot closer to the boy and lied down the concrete. After letting out an obviously troubled exhale, you find yourself reaching out to Josuke, tugging on his sleeve. A silent request to lie next to you. 

     “How’s your day? I forgot to ask,” he inquired, taking off his hat to have a place to rest his head down while lying next to you. Your fist opened and closed as you pondered on what to say. Would he mind listening to your woes? 'Im sure he wouldn't mind, you think to yourself.

     You start, “I’m doing well as everyone does, though…” The boy’s undivided attention was on you now. So, he didn't mind listening. You swallowed your saliva, finding it hard to formulate sentences with how he stared you down. It wasn’t bad or anything, you just realized it was nice that he wants to lend you his ears. Your eyes dart around his face, the natural light from the evening making some of his features stand out.

     “You know that every day is not a good day, right?” You breathed. He nods readjusting his position to face you. “I feel like this is one of those days. Hell, even week.”

     Those godawful thoughts were back again, and they were bombarding you to the point of spacing out. “…I just don’t want to be a failure,” you admitted, eyes glistening with tears. 

     Suddenly, you were engulfed in a crushing hug. You appreciate the gesture, some blobs of tears sliding down. No, you weren’t going to cry in front of Josuke as much as he wants to help. He doesn't need to carry your burdens. Your jaw clenched, arms moving to hold him; this would be just a good substitute.

     His large hands brushed your head, pushing you closer to him. He doesn’t want to you notice his heart stuttering at your broken state, but he was glad that you’re seeking comfort. Your happiness was his goal, and he would do anything to rid you of your problems with any means possible. Josuke tightens his hold on you. You were one of the only people he could trust, and he hopes you feel the same for him too.

     “God, I hate being sentimental,” you croaked into his chest. “I don’t mind.” He looked at you, your hair was hiding your face which he brushed away and wiped the tears that left your eyes. “If you ever feel down, please come and talk to me,” he insisted, your eyes find his. “I don’t want the person I care for feeling bad.”

     You prayed that he didn’t feel your heart drop at that, the way it thundered against your ribcage. With your shaky withdrawn hands, you hid your face. “I hate it when you do this,” you whined. He was puzzled, trying to figure out what he did.

     “What? You hate me doing what?”

     “WHEN YOU MAKE MY HEART RACE!” 

     It happened again. You buried your face into your hands, asking the Earth to swallow you up while Josuke processes what you just said.

     That wasn’t supposed to come out.