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as the light does

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Haiji wakes up with light in his eyes.

It’s not something new: it’s been almost a month since he (finally, finally) graduated and moved out of Chikuseisou into his tiny, 4.5 tatami mats apartment, and he hasn’t had money or time to buy curtains. So he squeezes his eyes shut when he feels the first rays of sun hit his forehead. He burrows further into the pillow, groaning, then slowly, carefully blinks himself awake.

The first thing he sees is Kakeru, open-mouthed and very still, head illuminated by a halo of sunlight.

This is not new, either. He’s been waking up to the sight of Kakeru since Hakone Ekiden, when he came to in a hospital bed to find the boy asleep, hunched up in a chair, holding Haiji’s hand. He had smiled then, and brought Kakeru’s hand up to his lips to kiss it.

He smiles now, too. Drinks in the sight of Kakeru: his pitch-black hair that Haiji knows is soft and delicate, ran his fingers through it last night in a soothing massage to help Kakeru sleep. His skin, tan from all the running outside, skin that turns hot and sweaty and red whenever Haiji touches it. His small, pretty nose and his small, pretty mouth that Haiji’s kissed countless times now, every day for the past three months.

Kakeru looks like an angel, head framed by the light like that. The sun is barely peeking over the horizon, and yet it finds Kakeru, keeps him warm, loves him.

So celestial a being in my bed / I like you when you sleep / but alas, wake up! You look most like yourself when you run

Haiji reaches over Kakeru to turn off the alarm clock before it rings. It’s okay to be a little late today, he decides, eyes never leaving Kakeru’s face. It’s easy to find the clock just by touch: it’s on the floor right behind Kakeru’s head, the only thing in the room other than the double mattress and a wooden bookshelf filled to the brim.

After he’s done he takes his hand back, but leaves it on Kakeru’s exposed arm, the skin sleep-warm and soaked in sunlight.

“You’re staring, Haiji-san,” Kakeru mumbles, low and hoarse, eyes still closed.

“Yeah,” Haiji says, just as low. “How did you know?”

Kakeru mutters something incomprehensible into the pillow.

“Use your words, Kakeru-kun,” Haiji teases.

Kakeru sighs.

“You do it every day,” he says, and finally opens his eyes.

His eyes are a weird color. Haiji never knows if they’re grey or brown or black. Joji and Jota think they change to suit Kakeru’s mood, but Haiji is more inclined to believe it has something to do with the light.

It’s always about the light with Kakeru.

Right now his eyes are a deep, dark brown, like they usually are in the early morning, when Kakeru is still blinking tiredly. The are little specks of gold in them, visible only if you’re close enough and Haiji is close enough. He smiles, stroking his hand up and down Kakeru’s arm.

“Hi,” he says, smile growing from small to showing teeth to radiant as Kakeru melts under his touch.

“Hi,” Kakeru says back. The corners of his mouth turn up, and Haiji kisses him.

His heart beats so loud it’s a wonder the neighbors don’t hear it through the thin walls and wake up to complain. Haiji can almost feel the blood rushing through his veins, fast like a sprinter on a short track. But he’s a long distance runner, always will be, so he paces himself: takes the giddy, head-spinning feeling of being in love and shows it to Kakeru little by little, in caresses and kisses and soft moans, today and tomorrow and forever.

My body a river, water flowing so smooth and so sweet towards the ocean of you

“Haiji-san”, Kakeru says against his smile. “Let’s go running.”

Of course they’ll go running.

Kakeru yawns and stretches under the sun like a cat, body long and toned and perfect. Haiji watches him get ready (take a piss, brush his teeth, make the bed, kiss Haiji quiet and nice again), watches a patch of light follow Kakeru as he pads around the apartment. His clothes are on the bookshelf, on a low shelf right beside Kenji Miyazawa’s Haru to Shura, below Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. Kakeru’s clothes are clean and smell nice - Haiji washed them yesterday by hand on the sink, one by one, because he had nothing else to do. He still doesn’t have a job. His parents send him money.

Outside the sun shines harsh, its light almost canary yellow. The air is humid and crisp from last night’s rain, the ground still wet while Haiji gets his bike from the rack close to the trash bins.

Haiji’s place is far from Chikuseisou, more than four train stations away. It’s just a couple of streets shy of being downtown, so the roads they take are just starting to get busy with people and cars, the city waking to its morning rush at barely six AM.

It doesn’t matter to Kakeru. He runs, always speeding ahead, always beautiful and precise and light. Even on a bike, it’s hard for Haiji to keep up with him on a bad knee. Kakeru runs, and runs, and runs, and the sunlight follows, and follows, and follows. As they get further and further away from Haiji’s apartment (their home) the sky opens up, bright and blue above their heads, just so the sun doesn’t lose track of Kakeru, illuminating his steps and the road he walks into.

Haiji understands. He loves Kakeru, too.

The path is clear / your legs carry you forward, forward, forward / and I, a fool for you, / invite myself along for the journey

He smiles, feeling the wind against his face and sunlight in his hair. He follows Kakeru.