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Together Under the Kotatsu

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It was not a happy time.

The world was going to shit and falling apart around them and Takuya was still having trouble keeping on his feet during some of the aftershocks, and yet here they were, smiling and laughing and sharing stories around the kotatsu in Kei’s living room.

They had the lights off, going only by the light of a ring of candles set in a bowl of sand in the middle of the table surface sitting on top of a non-slip mat to reduce the risk of the candles starting a fire if they slipped over or if the bowl fell off the table in an aftershock.

It had been the first chance that Takuya had been able to see everyone after getting back from Thailand to find his home country in such a mess, and it had been an unspoken agreement that everyone was going to stay the night. No one wanted to send Takuya how by himself after he’d been on the brink of tears when he’d first turned up on Kei’s doorstep. He hadn’t cried, and no one had pointed the welling tears out, but they knew how scared he had been. And no one blamed him.

Now, though, they were much more relaxed. Not completely, aftershocks never let you get completely relaxed, but they felt safer now that they were all together again. Their little family that had become much closer than they could’ve thought in such a short amount of time.

“Ne, Takuya.” Kenta slurped up the last of the instant noodles the all opted to have for dinner. “You’re twenty now, right?”

Takuya nodded. His birthday had pretty much passed by him thanks to the earthquake and tsunami. There had been much more important things to worry about. He’d gotten congratulations and well wishes on his blog, but he’d not paid them much heed, too worried about checking on all his family and friends and making sure they were all safe and accounted for.

“Hey, Kei, ya got any beer?”

The bassist thought for a moment then nodded and pulled himself to his feet. Takuya saw him shiver a little and slipped further into the warmth under the kotatsu. His feet brushed a leg and he looked up in time to see Shogo shifting his weight a little, the same leg brushing against the rapper’s foot.

Kei returned a few minutes later, three cans of beer in one hand, two in the other. He set them down on the table, one in front of each of the band members, then slipped back under the blanket in his spot beside Takuya. The rapper was staring at the beer can curiously.

Kenta had already popped his can open. He lifted it off the table, holding it towards the centre over the candles with a grin. “Happy birthday, Takuya,” he said as the others all popped open their own cans. “Congratulations on finally getting old enough to be considered a man.”

The others chuckled and the soft sound of aluminum knocking against itself filled the room. Takuya was hesitant in taking a sip from the can, unlike the others. He paused to sniff at the liquid then took a small sip. It sat on his tongue a moment before he swallowed it down.

When he was done considering the taste, he noticed that he was suddenly the one everyone was looking at. He smiled and took another sip, a bigger one this time.

“It’s not bad,” he announced, putting the can down. He looked around at the rest of the band before he reached out a hand to take the can from Kei’s hand and take a mouthful.

The bassist blinked.

“Everything tastes better stolen,” Takuya explained with a happy grin.

Kenta laughed and nodded an agreement before taking the can from right in front of Kousuke. Shogo grabbed Takuya’s can and Takuya made a grab for Shogo’s before Kousuke could, while Kei grabbed Kenta’s, leaving the drummer without a drink, which had Kenta almost choking on beer as he snorted in amusement.

Kei took a sip before passing the can on to Kousuke before he could spend too long pouting and Takuya passed on one of the cans in his hands. He wasn’t sure whether it was Shogo’s or the one Kei had had originally, but he figured it didn’t matter.

It wasn’t like it would be the first time saliva had passed between the three of them.

The night went on with the same almost joyful atmosphere, only subsiding when a particularly large aftershock shook the building when they were on their third round and had Takuya clinging to Kei’s arm and his feet tangling with Shogo’s under the table. Even after the quake had passed, the rapper continued to hold onto Kei, deciding the bassist was so much warmer than sitting separately.

“I think…” Kenta, through a mixture of exhaustion and lack of real food thanks to supply shortages and his size and the alcohol now in his system, seemed to be having trouble speaking, or at least choosing the words to say. “We… should sleep. …What time is it?”

Kei, seemingly still completely sober, looked up at the clock on the wall above the television. “Ten,” he read after a bit of squinting. “No. Eleven.”

Kousuke yawned and finished off his can. “Where are we sleeping?”

“I can—“ Kei stopped at the sound of a soft snore next to him and looked down at the youngest still leaning against his arm. He smiled. “Right here, I think.” He moved his arm to wrap it around Takuya’s shoulder, smiling wider when the rapper curled more into his side, nuzzling his face against Kei’s shoulder. The bassist looked up again to the singer. “You and Kou-chan can use my bed if you want. If you bring me a couple blankets. You know which cupboard they’re in, right?”

Kenta nodded and stood, with less difficulty than Kei was expecting, and slowly staggered into the adjoining bedroom, returning with an armful of blankets. After dumping them just within arms reach of the bassist, Kenta then set to work dragging a reluctant Kousuke out from the warmth of the kotatsu and into the bedroom.

Whether they made it to the bed or not, Kei didn’t know. The lack of a loud thump of bodies hitting the floor was promising, but he was slightly too distracted by more important things.

Namely, shifting over without waking up the rapper still curled into him to give Shogo room to slip under the table on the other side of Takuya. Between the two of them, they managed to lay one of the blankets beneath them and then another over them.

Shogo shifted closer so he was pressed against Takuya’s back and leaned over the rapper to share a brief kiss with Kei, smiling against his lips, before pulling back and kissing the side of Takuya’s head. Kei kissed the rapper’s forehead as the guitarist settled back down. A long arm reached over the top over both Takuya and Shogo, while Shogo wrapped on around Takuya’s waist, his reach not quite long enough to include the bassist as well.

Kei didn’t mind. The arm around Takuya was pressed up against his stomach and that was enough.

“Night, Sho-chan. Night, Takkun.”

“Night, Kei. Night Taku.”

The only response either received was a soft snore.