He was so cute back then, not that he isn’t now with the stubbornness that fails to fade even with every passing day. His ever-burning cheeks, stuttering incomplete sentences that made no sense, frantic, shifting eyes - he remembers it all so clearly what took his breath away about the nervous brunette. Even if he was initially annoyed by his existence, by the ability to be overly happy and content just by standing near him, he realizes now that was his own way to cope with everything. Cut everyone off, isolate yourself, and never speak a word of truth when it comes to your heart and there you go! The way to live life like naive teenager Takano back in the day.
He does not recommend it at all . It’s a pretty bad habit. When you do finally open your eyes (thanks to an annoying kid) and that dependence on one person leaves you insane, especially when they’re gone from your life. Even worse when you have no idea why.
He never regretted it though, even with the aftermath of his despair. He knows that there’s no doubt that Ritsu made him happy, more gleeful than he could have ever been if he hadn’t confessed to him that fateful day after school. The way how he got used to feeling the warmth of other body near him, hearing how his words stuttered (as if he had barely spoken to anyone all his life), how amusing it was to see his embarrassed face - all these things accumulated and brought him much joy, to the point that he began to fall as well.
One of the memories he has of their time together was them on the field, flowers surrounding their bodies. It was such a sunny time, it radiated all across Tokyo. It was practically inescapable that day. He’s not really sure how Ritsu managed to get him to step outside the comfort of his depressing household and outside into the ray of sunshine after school hours but nevertheless, he found himself being willingly dragged from the back of the house and into the backyard.
Everything was so bright. Nature was always described as beautiful. Everything was shining, the green of the grass glowing even more than usual, looking healthier than usual. Funny since nothing cared for this abandoned backyard. Flowers decorated the yard, specifically sunflowers. They were growing up in a bundle against the wooden fence that separated their space from their neighbors.
He watched, silent and still, as the shy boy he grew to love let go of him and raced over to admire the collection of flowers.
His eyes were shining with glee, a smile so wide and cute that Saga couldn’t do anything but adore at the time even if it hadn’t been directed at him. It was really adorable, watching Ritsu look over the flower and reach forward, gently taking the yellow petals between his gentle, nimble fingertip. He looked so at ease, completely content with the world.
It was a lovely sight, even made more precious by the way Ritsu leaned forward and took a gentle whiff of the flower’s aroma. He looked so gentle and supple then.
Ritsu had managed his gaze for quite a while now. He was really never able to look away after he saw him for the first time. It was like he was drawn to boy, as if Ritsu had become his center of gravity .
For once, since seeing him, he looked composed and confident in a way. His hands weren’t shaking nor were his eyes frantically looking anywhere but Saga’s eyes. He was simply focused on the flowers in front of them, feeling close to them. He knew he loved them and didn’t let anything ruin that for him. It was a blessing in a way.
He didn’t understand it really. It was confusing (really, Ritsu was always confusing). It was just some plants like everything else. Just seeds sprouting from the ground thanks to some water and sunlight. It was no different from grass or trees or any other flowers; it grows, it lives, and it dies yet here was Ritsu adoring it like it was so special.
“Have you ever made a flower crown before?” Ritsu looked back, his voice light and soft. The smile dancing across his features was gentle and small. The flush of red littering his face isn’t from embarrassment, no, it’s from fondness.
“What’s that?” Saga manages to say, cursing internally how gone he sounds. He tries not to seem overly emotional from the sacred sight before him. He already knew he loved the sight of Ritsu in his house (definitely in his bed) because he filled the dread-filled house with something vivid that was needed in the quiet household aside from the few hushed meows from Sorata. This was just so precious .
“What’s a flower crown? I think that’s in the name, Saga-senpai!” Ritsu giggled, holding the stems of the thriving flowers in the lock of his ever so gentle hands. They’re so much more smaller and soft, he knows from experience from the way he’s held them tightly. It never mattered the situation: walking down the street together, in the movies, or when they made love. They were always so soft and fragile to the touch.
“I guess it is.” He feels odd. Smiling is new to him in a way, it’s been so long since he’s been happy. Everything around him is so depressing and hate-filled, how could he ever muster up any sort of joy from the world? But then there comes Ritsu, crashing into his life like some of wrecking ball. He changes everything .
Here he stands happy and even showing it. Just a quirk of his lips and an open heart yet it’s so much. He can’t believe he trusts in this stuttering idiot’s words but he does because he’s so gone for him at this point, willing to do anything to keep him at his side. Whatever it takes, he’ll do without question.
“Do you want one?” Ritsu asks, his green orbs mellow and twinkling. He likes how that looks, how just as happy as Saga is. He nudges the sunflower gently, holding it firmly. “My mom made them one time. She showed me how to do it when I was a kid and I made one for my friend back then. I think I remember, I can try!”
‘Momma’s boy.’ Saga snorts happily and shrugs, because why not? Long as it keeps that blinding smile on Ritsu’s face.
“Yeah, give me your worst. Kill those sunflowers and crown me.” Saga throws his hands up and resigning his fate, plopping down on the ground to wait. He watches as Ritsu flushes red and pouts cutely. God, he really wants to kiss him but he already sat down. He’s way too lazy to get up.
“Don’t say it like that! They’re just...getting a new purpose is all!” Ritsu gave some flimsy excuse and if he really wanted to, he could easily point out the flaws in his argument about how serial killers could say the same thing about innocent humans but at last, he still wants to have a boyfriend. Plus, how can you say no to a face like that? It’s annoying how unknowingly cute he is.
“Sure, sure.” Saga shakes his head, patting the ground next to him. “Sit.”
“O-oh, okay!” Ritsu says, after plucking a few from their stems for the crown, and gently sits down next to Saga. He leaves an irritating amount of room between them. How dare he? “Let’s see, I think I do this first…”
He watches Ritsu gently bend the stems, loosening them a bit to make them more manageable to twist and turn but Saga doesn’t really care about that. Instead, he scoots over until their sides are touching and his arm is around Ritsu’s waist, staring down at the blushing boy who halts on the act. He kisses his forehead, smirking.
“Go on,” He whispers in his ear and kisses the tip of it before resting his head on Ritsu’s who’s lost all ability to speak or protest. He nodded instead, his nerves get the best of him as always when it comes to Saga. He focuses back on the stems again, folding them over as Saga’s gaze burned into his skin.
His fingers are shaking. It’s cute he’s still nervous despite them being together for a while now. You would think he would get used to this at some point, but no, he’s still as nervous as the day he confessed to him. It’s endearing if not concerning that he produces so much anxiety onto the boy. Love is scary, he presumes. He’s lucky to be with someone like Ritsu who makes his love obvious and known, never making Saga doubt himself.
With each gentle push of the stem and pull, making a knot but not forceful so it doesn’t break. It’s almost a metaphor for their relationship in a way. Ritsu was gentle, he never asked the hard questions or pushed it. He never forced anything, just let his feelings known and just how much he cares about him. It’s interesting how Ritsu can make him start to see all these sorts of things that he would never have fathomed before their connection.
Slowly, with time and gentle maneuvers, the flower crown gets put together. It looks fragile but strong strangely enough. The brightness of the sunflowers brings out a sense of confidence but the way the stem are carefully folded and tied together shows just how much it takes to make something so beautiful and magnificent work. It’s not easy or as simple as many people think, people can apply that to many things.
He’ll probably figure out his own perspective of that metaphor in the future.
Ritsu stands up, looking proud of himself (Saga is too). He bends over slightly, placing the crown on his head, making sure it fits his hair nicely before sitting back on his knees to take a farther look. His smile is so lively, Saga knows it’s worth everything in the world.
“There you go! Your first flower crown.” Ritsu says, almost giddy.
He reaches up, feeling the petals of the happy flower. He smiles at the softness he immediately feels.
“Can you teach me how to make one?” He asked, looking down on the confused teen.
“Er, sure...why though?” Ritsu cocks his head to the side, looking up at him with such an innocent, curious gaze. Again, it’s unfair that he’s unknowingly enchanting.
“So I can make you one. We’ll match.”
He took in every second with joy as Ritsu stuttered, flushed rosy red, and eventually looked away and just nodded, smiling nervously all the while. It made Saga’s heart swoon.
Takano now understands what he would use for that metaphor of the creation of flower crowns - relationships . They look so perfect and easy on the outside, the facade of endless happiness and love. In reality, there’s so much work, trust, and dedication in a relationship. Each one of those factors are so very important and needed in order to make a relationship not only work, but make it healthy as well.
Which is why he’s irritated by the current situation he’s been handed by some God that apparently hates him. After having no clue why his boyfriend kicked him in the face out of nowhere and fled with his tail between his legs, he is suddenly without for days to come. Days turn into months turn into years and before he knows it, it’s ten years since he last saw his adorable, shy boyfriend that he yearned for. One day, some new employee who has no clue what he’s doing but stubbornly willing to learn and get better named Ritsu Onodera decides to enter his life, just like Oda. They were both wrecking balls in his life.
In fact, as it turns out, they are both the same wrecking ball.
That stubborn, easily riled up man who confused Takano with his sudden determination to prove him wrong, no matter what it cost, was the same overly anxious, stuttering mess of a kid he fell for over a decade ago. It was baffling when he realized the connection he felt with Onodera.
At first, he was angry. Out of nowhere, when his life was seemingly together and settled after one of the rockiest roads he’s ever driven on, here comes his ex - the one who completely messed him up as a teen. So much that when he got to college, he couldn’t let his education matter to him. What mattered the most in his eyes was forgetting Ritsu had ever existed in his mind, racing to erase the feeling and memory with booze and one-night stands. It had to take Yokozawa snapping him out of his depressed haze in order for him to start gaining back his common sense, realizing that he couldn’t live like this, he couldn’t let this loss overtake him. Yes, he may always feel this way, but he shouldn’t let it ruin him. It’s no excuse.
He was curious, slowly letting the anger fade. Did he not remember him? Did he forget? He didn’t even seem to recognize him. Was he that easy to get over and move past?
He didn’t change that much. He just got a sharper, braver edge onto his character. He didn’t back down when Takano told him to, to give up because it is so naive of him to think just because he believed in it that it would work, but once again, like back then, he proved him wrong. He glared, he demanded for a chance, and he got it. It reminded him of how he came back to Takano even after he lashed out on him, even going as far to call him gross. He wanted a chance to prove he could do something, whether it was being there for someone or showing he was competent at his new job even with his inexperience.
It’s a blessing and a curse, he supposes. He was still cute, somehow even more cuter with his adamant, serious nature. It’s really unfair that he got more cuter!
He’s more reserved not, typically holding back the reality of his thoughts and feelings. It’s hard because relationships (if you can even call what they currently have that) require communication. Takano knows he feels the same way: his flushed cheeks whenever he’s near, how he stutters pathetically, and how he could never look him in the eyes for long - those are all evidence of that pattering heart that yearned for him too.
He’s scared, he gets that. Getting into a relationship with anyone can be anxiety-inducing, even more so with someone you previously dated before. Trusting someone again, after you heart has been completely broken by them (although accidentally), it’s the most terrifying thing in the world.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Being a brave idiot is needed sometimes. If Ritsu hadn’t been an utter fool and confessed right then and there, they wouldn’t have been here in the first place.
“I can walk home alone!” Ritsu shouts, halting his path and twisting his body around. He glares up at Takano, it’s really cute.
He’s probably mentioned that a lot. Ritsu is really cute.
“We live in the same apartment building right next to each other, idiot. We have to walk home together.” Takano rolled his eyes, flicking Ritsu’s forehead. He watched as Ritsu’s affronted gaze landed on him, seeing his brow deepening with an adorable scowl.
“You don’t have to take the same path as me!” Ritsu huffed, folding his arms with his head held eye. He was ridiculously stubborn.
“I’m not taking another path when this is the fastest just because you can’t your undying love for me.” He smirked, ready for what was to come.
“ Huh?! Excuse you! I don’t love you!” Ritsu flushed bright red, yelling loudly. He denied all of Takano’s claims despite his eyes refusing to meet his unwavering gaze and the way his hands twitched at his side, almost as if he had the same yearning to hold his hand that Takano has.
“Don’t worry, I know what you mean behind that facade.” He teases, glancing down at the space between their still hands that was lax at their sides, just swaying there when they could be doing something much better and rewarding. He wanted to reach over and intertwine their fingers, feel the familiar smooth softness of his hands even after years later.
“What - I - no! It means what I said it mean, that’s it! Clear and to the point!” Ritsu flushed, his cheeks were always so red.
They were only red around Takano though, something he never failed to note mentally himself with hope and a little bit of amusement.
“Mhm,” He hummed, looking on their path. It was the usual, cliche one; a path on a sidewalk surrounded by numerous buildings that seemed never-ending. Tokyo was a very cramped place with all the buildings and busy streets occupying every inch of the land. It made some a bit restless with the never ending cycle of hurry.
Across the numerous buildings, however, was one that caught Takano’s gaze this time around. It was a simple, but undoubtedly profitable shop that was painted with a simple coat of beige. Along that was child-like hand prints in many different shapes, angles, and paint colors make different little shapes and pictures. From the bottom of the smaller building (compared to what surrounded it) was grass plastered in different shades, sprouting from there were an array of different types of flowers: tulips, roses, poppies, and the list goes on, however, one caught his interest.
There was a loud, bright-colored sunflower painted on the building. Happening to end just under the window seal because the drawing was that big and tall, he noted how the sunflowers were on display against the glass. They were just as evident and sunny as back then, invoking great joy in people like the plague in many ways. You just couldn’t escape it.
He grabbed on Ritsu’s wrist, nearly giving the brunette a heart attack in the process, and begins to drag them off their usual path. He has a goal in mind. The memory floods in mind, that happiness that swelled in him long ago, and he’s determined to recreate it in one way or another. Even if Ritsu protests all the while.
“H-hey! What the hell are you doing?! Where are we going?!” Ritsu hollered, fighting as usual. Couldn’t he just go with the flow for once like back when they were kids?
“To the flower shop, obviously. You would be able to tell that if you actually used your eyes, idiots.” He glanced back momentarily, seeing that frustrated expression he loved nowadays.
“God, do you never shut up?”
“ Excuse you - ! ”
The sound of the bell rang over him as he stepped through the glass doorway, Ritsu stuck behind him as he was taken along for the ride. Takano is sure he’s full of glee regarding that. He looks around the shop briefly, it’s cozy. It’s smaller than their office, but it doesn’t have so much stuff in it that you notice the size outright. It’s a simple design, just like the outside.
“Hello! Can I help you, sir...s?” A young gentleman, looking closer to a teenager really, questions with a cheery smile and cock of his head. He has a curious look in his eyes, full of nativity. Takano doesn’t really care to be honest, he isn’t Ritsu so he finds none of the gestures cute or endearing like they would have been on the struggling brunette behind him who’s shouting curses and demands in protest that don’t exactly reach Takano’s ear. They’re worthless ones anyways.
“You guys have sunflowers, right? Get me a bouquet.” He says, pointing to the fresh yellow-petaled flower on display by the window. The blonde nodded, giving that stupid forced polite smile he sees on everyone he works with, including Ritsu. It’s hilarious to watch him struggle and keep his composure.
“Is it for a special occasion, sir?” He asks, there’s probably some deal if it was. He just wants to make a flower crown people, stop making him wait.
“No, just get me it.”
“Takano, don’t be rude!” Ritsu, who’s decided to stop fighting Takano’s iron grip, speaks up in a hushed, angry tone. He’s looking up at him, those greens orbs swirling with a sense of unknown curiosity and irritation that’s slowly edging itself away from his gaze. He almost looks a little concerned. “Why are we even here? You never answered my question!”
“I want to make you a flower crown,” He admits out loud, a little flustered to admit it. Nowhere as near as bad as Ritsu when his face lights up like a Christmas tree in the middle of December, but it’s still slightly noticeable. “Like back then.”
Ritsu doesn’t say a word. He looks like he wants to, they just won’t come forward. His eyes are large, staring. He’s gaping at Takano, completely full of shock and disbelief that Takano muttered those words. He really should expect this by now.
“Um,” The employee pops back in with sunflowers cuddled together with a simple transparent plastic sheet. “Sorry to interrupt, I think? But, uh, that’s 2,200 yen.”
Just as he’s reaching for his wallet, he feels Ritsu’s wrist slip through his distracted, loose grip and finds his hand wrapping around his own. He isn’t yanking it away, Takano wasn’t even the one to initiate it, yet they were still suddenly holding hands. It was such a simple gesture to everyone else but it was the world to them.
“S-sir?” The teen, a bit anxiously, called him back to reality. He slipped out a sufficient bill and slid it on the counter, clumsily slipping his wallet back into his jacket pocket.
“Keep the change,” He said without thinking but he didn’t regret it. He wanted to get out of here as soon as possible, especially with the way Ritsu was looking down at the ground thoughtfully. He lifted his gaze and instead of turning away immediately, he looked him in the eye until Takano had to look away because that gaze of his was just too much for him to handle right then and there.
“Thank you for your purchase!” He heard the blonde yell out as they made their way past the glass doorway and out back onto the sidewalk with Takano’s previously freed hand full of sunflower stems. Both flustered, they managed to find themselves in a comfortable silence and before they knew it, they were at that library from before. Sitting on the steps, Takano looked at Ritsu who was hiding his face behind his long brown locks. It was cute.
The library was the wrong way to home but Takano wanted to be alone with just Ritsu. Around this time of the day (really night), no one was bound to show up beside bookworms like them. Ritsu seemed to be brave for a second, looking up at Takano with those delightfully sinful eyes.
Sadly, Takano had to let go of Ritsu’s hand in order to do this but he had a feeling it would be worth it in the end. Bending the stems gently, relaxing them as Ritsu watched him. It seemed the tables were switched now. It was a nice silence. It seemed to follow them ever since they left the store.
“Be careful!” Ritsu suddenly shouts, apparently watching Takano more closely than he thought, and clasps his hands around Takano’s where he was looping the stems into each other to form a knot. “You have to be gentle tying them together or it’ll rip. You don’t want that.”
“No, I don’t.” He smiled down at Ritsu’s focused expression who blushed realizing what he had just done. He meekly looked away, just like in the old days.
With a few interruptions on Ritsu’s part, he had managed to make the flower crown. It was steady and pretty, just like how he remembers it. He rose gently, placing it on Ritsu’s head. He was pleased with himself, it suited Ritsu in every way, even years later after the fact. He gently brushed a few locks behind his ear, caressing his heated cheeks.
“Ritsu,” He breathed softly, their faces close but not touching in the way he wanted. “I love you.”
Ritsu blushed brighter, if that was possible. He was shining, glowing in contrast to dull gray bricks surrounding them and the darkest sky above them. There were no stars out tonight, but that’s okay because Ritsu was beaming for all to admire. He was Takano’s own personal star.
“Ritsu,” He pressed closer, looking in Ritsu’s eyes. He wasn’t going to let him run off and deny this time around. “Do you love me too?”
He felt Ritsu’s hand slip into his curious one, running along his plump thing that was tragically covered by a pair of slacks. He wanted this too.
He was…He was ready to accept Takano back into his life again, after so long of continuous anguish and anger screwing them both up. To say Takano felt relieved was a complete understatement. He felt glee and joy overtake all of his senses, but he waited.
He needed to hear it from Ritsu for sure. No more getting cut off. No more someone interrupting them.
Right now and here, he wanted to hear Ritsu completely confess because he wants to, nothing else.
“I-I…” Ritsu stuttered, stumbling over his words but he did better compared his previous attempts. He was looking Takano in the eye and he gripped Takano’s hand. He reached over, placing his hand over Takano’s pressed against his cheek. “I-I love you, Takano.”
That was all he needed before he slammed their lips together in a loving, passionate kiss that even Ritsu threw his arms around his shoulders, gripping tightly on his jacket. He finally had him, after years of waiting for him to return into his arms. He had wanted this for so long.
The flower crown sat on top of his head, never falling or being knocked off even in the midst of their emotional make--out session. It was a bit ridiculous to think a freaking flower crown got them back together, but it did! Takano couldn’t be happier, even if he chuckles at the hilarity of it all when Yokozawa stares at him the next day at revealing how it had happened.
“You two are love-struck idiots. It’s gross.” Is all his best friend can manage, shaking his head and putting out his cigarette. “Though sunflowers do suit you two.”