it was morning again. birds were chipping, signalling that the sun was rising and people would be starting their day, and he was sitting there. he had been sitting there for hours. the inability to fall asleep was a real sucker sometimes.
it would always lead to haruka sitting there, and sitting, and sitting, and so on. usually, the cycle of him struggling to fall asleep would last for about a day or two until takane noticed the bags under his eyes were increasing again. when that time came around, she would berate him and tell him to get some rest. and he would, though he only seemed to be able to fall asleep with her there in the room with him.
though .. he was coming quickly upon his third day awake and there was no takane to scold him into sleeping. of course ... he had to remember, that was from before.
before she was ene. before he was konoha. before clearing ruined everything. before, before, before.
now .. he wasn't alone. she had insomnia as well, almost as bad as his own. though he couldn't say his was all that bad back then. now ? it definitely was. before, he had his sickness to eventually make him too tired to move an inch, but now .. he was healthy again, and he was very much sleepless.
getting up and out of bed with a sigh, haruka made his way out of his room. he was working on getting his own apartment, maybe one him and takane could share, seeing as he had managed to snag a job, but for now he stayed in apartment 107 with many of the others.
as he opened his room's door, though, he came face to face with takane, and simply stared in shock for moment.
" takane ? " he started, tilting his head innocently. " did you need something ? "
the shorter girl stared at him for a second before she seemed to snap back into reality, squeaking and turning her head as her face flushed a deep red. he could only laugh, allowing her time to calm down and respond.
" ... i meant to come check if you had gotten any sleep but started overthinking and then zoned out at your door. " she let out a sigh as she explained, then looked back up with a smile. " on that note, did you get any sleep ? "
he laughed nervously, a hand going to scratch the back of his head. " well .. not exactly. "
she frowned, her eyebrows furrowing as she reached up and lightly hit him on the head. " i've told you before and i'll tell you again. you need more sleep ! " she leaned back again, glaring up at him. he knew the glare wasn't necessarily genuine, though. " not sleeping for days on end could get you sick, idiot. "
haruka just smiled down at her, though. " join me tonight, then ? you can try and help me sleep, or just sleep with me in general. "
takane's expression dropped to be replaced by a shocked one only for a second, before her face grew red as she sputtered. " haruka ! " he was simply laughing as she stared up at him in embarrassment and horror. " god, you need to word things like that better ! but .. " his laughing calmed to a stop and she finally went back to just smiling. " i guess that wouldn't be too bad. "
and so that's what they agreed on. takane would join haruka later that night, and they would attempt to help each other sleep. they were both praying that it would help, considering it usually did back then.
the rest of their day went on like normal. well, as normal as you could call it. most people wouldn't consider being part of some gang of kids who all become more and more chaotic as you go down the line very normal, but most people aren't in the mekakushi dan. normal for them was the yelling, though it wasn't genuinely hostile. usually. normal for them was the laughter, the loud squeaks and squeals, the younger members being chased by the older members ( usually kano ). normal for them was absolutely chaos.
today seemed to be a tad calmer, though. the younger members were sleeping most of the day, while the older members went along their way. some of them watched over the sleeping kids, some of them went out to work. the rest hung around each other, giving them each company. and the rest would shintaro, ayano, haruka, and takane. it felt just like before, just ... with some changes.
ayano was close enough to shintaro to lay her head on his shoulder and for him to wrap his arm loosely around her. everyone knew they were finally together now, but it was taking shintaro some time to adjust to everything. he was never big on physical affection in the first place, but he was getting more and more used to it the longer ayano was around. besides, being able to hold and touch her, even it was just an arm loosely wrapped around her, reminded him that she was back and wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.
haruka and takane were similar. they weren't in such an openly touchy - feely position, but if you looked closely, you could see their hands locked together between them on the couch. it was small, but it was there, and it's what kept them both sane. even with the two of them being a couple, physical affection almost always flustered takane. it was cute, it really was, but haruka was trying to get her more used to it. they agreed on small things for now, like holding hands. they weren't sure how well that agreement would work out tonight, but they would forget it for the time being if need be.
" you two are looking more and more tired every day. " ayano's voice was soft, and she looked concerned. considering she was referring to haruka and takane, it made sense that she seemed so concerned.
an awkward laugh came from takane, before haruka spoke up with as soft a smile as ever. " we're working on it. " he then turned ever so slightly to look at shintaro. " what about you, though ? you look a lot healthier. "
" ayano's been helping me eat and sleep again. " shintaro's grip around ayano seemed to tighten ever so slightly, as if to make sure she was still there and he wasn't talking about air. " we, uh .. have some issues with my hair, though. " ah. his hair, which had grown significantly over time, but cutting it was an issue. he didn't want to have to go to an actual hair cuttery, and he didn't trust himself anywhere near scissors. ayano had offered to cut it for him a few times, but he was still terrified. eh, they'd figure it out eventually.
" oh yeah ! when are you two gonna figure out how you're gonna cut all that hair off ? " it was takane who spoke this time, raising one eyebrow in curiosity.
ayano gave them a smile before answering. " it'll most likely end up being me. he doesn't trust strangers coming near him with you - know - what's, and he doesn't trust himself with them either. " takane nodded, seeming to understand, but shintaro seemed a little embarrassed she would tell the other girl something like that about him. then again, he was probably just making a big deal out of it.
" at least you're making significant progress, shintaro. " haruka offered him a smile, head tilted ever so slightly.
it was that same old kind smile he always gave that made shintaro sigh, reaching for his cola. " whatever. i wouldn't say we're really making all that much progress, but it's obviously more than you two. "
that made takane furrow her eyebrows. " hey ! we said we're working on it, okay ? "
" and how long is that gonna take ? two years ? "
she went to stand up, but froze when she felt her hand be squeezed. she looked over at haruka with slightly wide eyes, and immediately calmed down enough to heave out a sigh and move back to sitting fully.
" whatever. "
ayano turned to chide shintaro, saying something about not starting arguments. haruka wasn't paying attention, though. he was a little busy trying to keep takane's anger under check. he hummed softly, watching her with caring eyes as he tapped along her wrist and arm. he watched as she slowly relaxed again, sighing once more as she moved a little closer to him. it brought a smile to his face.
the two of them came back from their own little world and tuned back into reality right as shintaro let out a soft ' fuck. ' he seemed to have spilled a bit of his cola on his pants, and it immediately got takane laughing at him. ayano let out a soft gasp, though, reaching over to cover haruka's ears.
" shintaro ! " her tone was clearly playful, but she kept going along with her little scene. " no cursing around haruka ! "
" yeah, shintaro. " takane was grinning at him like a menace, and god did that grin just remind shintaro of when she was ene. " you know cursing around haruka is a big no - no ! "
haruka just seemed confused for a moment, before he burst out laughing. that's all it took for all four of them to desolve into laughter. even shintaro let out a little chuckle.
the rest of the day went on like that, with the four of them hanging out until members of the dan either got home or woke up. by the time midnight hit, many of the members were asleep once again, and the quartet decided to separate for the day.
once they went their separate ways, haruka made his way back to his room. he figured he would have to try to sleep tonight, especially with takane coming to join him.
he heard a knock at his door, and after yelling a ' come in ', he saw takane. she opened the door ever so slightly to poke her head in before she fully came in. she had changed into her pajamas, and had a soft smile on her face.
" do you think we'll actually manage to sleep tonight ? "
" we can only try, right ? " he smiled over at her, beckoning for her to join him on the bed.
and she did, althought she seemed to hesitate a little before climbing into bed next to him. they hadn't done this in a very long time, so haruka really didn't expect this to be like how it always was.
they both just sat there for a second, before takane eventually sighed and laid down. she didn't get under the covers, though. she simply flopped onto her back, staring at the ceiling. he stared at her for a moment before flopping down next to her. they stayed like that for a very long while, until sooner or later, takane turned to him and reached for his hand. she seemed hesitant, even if only for a moment, but she couldn't be blamed. physical affection was hard for her to get used to.
haruka hummed, reaching the rest of the way to grab her hand. once they were interlocked, he turned onto his side to face her. he smiled, reaching out with his free hand to cup her cheek. she flinched away at first, but eventually leaned towards his hand. he stopped his hand when she flinched, only moving it to properly cup her cheek once he knew she was ready.
" you're gonna be okay. "
that one line made her smile, and she almost immediately curled up, ending up letting go of haruka's hand. he gave a soft laugh, before he retracted the hand on her cheek and moved just a tad closer to her. takane just stared at him for a moment, mustering up all the courage she could before, as quickly as she could, she leaned forward and gave him a small kiss on the nose.
as soon as she did, she rolled over, facing away as her face flushed a deep red. behind her, haruka was smiling wide. he was proud of her, and god, he loved her. he finally felt the fatigue catching up to him, though, so he moved under the covers.
" sleep well if you can, takane. " he paused for a moment, before saying one more thing before he finally succumbed to sleep. " i love you. "
she could feel her heart racing, and her smile was so big. she didn't think she could fall asleep right this second. she didn't respond, either, but she knew he had to know she said it back in her heart.
after waiting about as long as her body would let her, she finally moved under the covers. it took a moment of consideration before she finally rolled back over, seeing his sleeping face immediately bringing her comfort. although hesitant at first, she eventually moved forward enough to let one hand grab his shirt loosely. that's the most she did, though, before she curled up as close to him as she could handle and let herself fall asleep.