During his days at school, Shin refused to phone Akihiro because, he felt, he had no particular reason to. Between his own lethargy and Akihiro's truant habits it wasn't that they saw each other every day, but often enough for it to render the use of such contact unnecessary. Shin didn't like to answer his phone unless he had to. If it was an unknown number, then it was more often than not most likely some fangirl who had got hold of his number through nefarious means, and he lacked the energy and patience to try to be kind to all of them. Not once did he slip up, but several times he came quite close. He would have left his phone at home were it not for the important, albeit quite tedious calls he was also likely to get. The people at the Live House, needing to tell him some thing or another. One of the other bandmembers with an idea or a problem or an excuse. Whatever. His inbox was always full and his recent calls frequently updated, but Akihiro was rarely if ever part of that list. There was never anything he wanted to say that came across as being so urgent he just had to pick up the phone. It was useful for brief messages re: his current location on the school's grounds, but that, to Shin, didn't count. A few quick thumbpresses and then hopefully they'd know where to meet, and then his phone would be slipped into his bag and forgotten.
As their time at Seirei drew to a close, talking over the phone never felt enough and so Shin barely employed the tactic. Again, like before, it was useful insofar as it was a tool that could enable a physical meeting. Shin knew that no matter what time he phoned, Akihiro would pick up and obey anything. He worried so much. Shin didn't like to think that he was taking advantage of that mindset, but sometimes the chill of being out under the night sky was rather refreshing... and there were a lot of things to be said during that time, a lot of things, but Shin wanted to say them face-to-face. He wanted to watch Akihiro as he said them, judge the reaction of one who didn't know how to react. He wanted to stare at Akihiro as he fumbled, make eye-contact and feel it broken, be able to look away and know himself watched.
He knew he was guilty of saying things purely to make Akihiro react, he knew that and knew it deeply. At the same time, the more he did it, the less he could resist doing it again and again and again. A casual thought on mortality to make him worry and something nihilistic to make him stay. That was taking advantage and Shin knew it but again, couldn't quite help himself. Time was running out. The closer they got to that day marked graduation, the more self-aware Shin felt of their situation. He would distance himself from the immediacy of his thoughts and look at them and look at them both, together, apart. Between times of great depression came times of edified elation. A sense of place in time and space that he could weave to his own ends, write into lyrics, turn into a song. In those heady days, everything seemed significant; in those fleeting moments of innocent ecstasy, it felt like even those swathes of depression could be taken and used and crafted into something particular.
Come the actual feeling, that never happened. Those feelings sucked away life and creativity, and there lay the danger. Even in those moods, however, Shin would wish to provoke Akihiro. Even more because of those moods, perhaps. The urge to say things to cause a reaction was never stronger and Shin would always indulge himself. Even in those moods, there was a sense of 'this is the only time we can behave like this'. A sense of wanton abandon in those days ticking down to their highschool graduation.
Graduation came, and then went. Then university.
Shin rarely phoned Akihiro during their years at university, either. It wasn't through lack of desire, just through... everything else. Shin hadn't been prepared for how much he felt, afterwards, that university changed him. There were the obvious elements - living away from home, managing your time and your study and your living arrangements, but just... the sense of having been pulled out of the oppressive nature of Seirei Gakuen and into somewhere - anywhere - else was quite liberating. If nothing else, this was now his chance to study music in an academic context. Barely anybody would have argued against his skill or talent during his days at school, but it always felt as if his needs towards music always worked against his duty towards the academic. Practice and rehearsal took up time he should have been doing homework, left him tired through the school day. The Student Council found his gravitational pull on the students disruptive. He was frequently told by teachers that he could be spending more time considering his coursework than the latest song he wanted to write, and the more he was told that the more he wanted to go against them. It all worked out in the end, but it had been an uphill struggle to that point.
And then... freedom. An environment where his talents were not only tolerated, but encouraged. The members of Synchro were split up across the country in similar pursuits, perhaps they would join back together in the future to pick up where they left off? Perhaps. If they did, great. If they didn't, that was fine too. The future seemed to offer endless possibility and in the face of that, Shin would find weeks had passed and only then would he look at his phone and think of the past and think of him. And they had chosen their respective paths and that was all anybody could expect, but Shin would run his fingers across the raised surface of the numbered buttons and think to rash promises made and forgotten in an instant, all of the desperate things he'd ever said and, at the time, meant absolutely. He'd meant every word and Akihiro had entertained him those thoughts, even when surely both knew that, rationally, such plans were impossible. Passing whims of 'forever' and 'eternity'. Things that felt so desperate, then. Back then there had been so much, so many, so little time. Enami. Tatsuya. The Student Council. All of those different elements and still, after everything, Shin would find himself seeking Akihiro's company. Back then, that had been what he'd needed. Back then.
It wasn't that he never phoned, just that time seemed to pass before he knew it. He would note how easy and relaxed Akihiro sounded on the other end of the phone and wonder if he came across in the same fashion. Neither of them seemed to be prompting the other to make a cross-country trip in a fit of sudden worry or fractious concern. They understood that they were each doing different things in different parts of the country now. Perhaps it would be similar to Synchro; someday they'd find themselves in the same place again, and it would all be like nothing had changed. Or everything had changed, for the better. Or something.
After university, any time seemed too late. Yearly events would roll around - he would send a happy new year!x message at the appropriate time, muse on what present to buy at Christmas, Akihiro's birthday, consider phoning then but then the moment would pass and days later didn't seem appropriate. And he was busy, of course. His singing career was really starting to take off. It was like all those times at Seirei Gakuen over again, wishing you could leave your phone behind so just for a day you wouldn't be fielding requests from agents and other various deals and contracts and all of those troublesome things, but those were the boring things you had to take care of before you could do what you wanted to do. He was building up a dedicated fanbase and the feeling of playing a concert only became more electrifying, but it was hard to consider being in the same place as Akihiro when touring took you all over the country. There were talks of going abroad, too. It always became in the morning. Tomorrow. After I've slept. After this concert.
He would look to his songs and read reviews that spoke of 'a more mature feel' and 'a confident outlook' and remember all the wayward songs of his youth and miss them, somewhat. All the songs he'd played at that one live house where the audience was full of schoolgirls from Seirei, but every bitter word was directed towards that one figure hiding at the back of the room. He remembered all of the things Enami had tried to shield him from and all of the things Akihiro had exposed him to. Things were comfortable now but he missed those times, sometimes. Somewhat.
He didn't want to be the kind of performer who couldn't make time for the important people in his life, but when said in a disparaging manner that usually meant that the performer in question wouldn't make time. Shin didn't feel he had the option, not yet.
It surprised everybody when, after his first album, he officially announced - without any warning - a performance hiatus. I want to travel, he said. (The overseas fans got excited.) I want to travel, and find new places to get inspiration from, to get inspired by. I'm sure you understand, right? I'll be back when I've recharged! I hope you can keep supporting me in the future--! (... all of the things you had to say to your fanbase, even when you were being spontaneous. More than that, more than anything, Shin wanted a rest. Nobody could particularly begrudge him that, but with all his recent successes, such a thing seemed hard to justify.)
Even on the train back there, Shin played his fingers over his phone more than attempt the call he wanted to make. He knew there was every likelihood that Akihiro wouldn't be there, that he would be living elsewhere now, beyond his degree and setting up his own path... for as long as he didn't call, he could still pretend that that wasn't the case.
There was still an hour before his destination. He'd worry about that when he got there.