He’s never cared much about keeping people around.
Even in middle school, at the age at which most boys were attempting to find a group they could stand in solidarity with and find ‘glory’ with, he didn’t particularly care.
It wasn’t that people didn’t try with him, it’s just that he wasn’t interested in them.
Thus, he was labelled the loner, or the person who thought he was too good for everyone and everything, which suited him just fine.
Izaki Shun didn’t give much of a shit about meaningless camaraderie.
Tokaji, on the other hand, needed people to function – especially at Suzuran.
There’s no point in being a schemer and making plots if it’s only benefiting you, particularly when you’re not the strongest fighter.
It’s not that Tokaji was a weak opponent, nor was it the case that he wasn’t worth Izaki’s concern, it was simply that whilst Izaki was content to find his own way and use his mind to get there, Tokaji clearly wanted the acceptance of others whilst doing so.
He can’t blame him, after all, Freshman year at Suzuran was always full of young and over-enthusiastic boys idolising third years and wondering when they’d reach the top. Naturally it followed that they were all seeking some form of adoration, acceptance or respect.
It’s why Genji had been such a revelation.
He made no secret of his motivation to reach the top, it was a simple matter of proving his father wrong and gaining his approval in order to succeed him. Yet, Genji didn’t seem to give a single shit about what anyone thought of any of that, or him.
It was why Izaki had finally decided to, in his final year at Suzuran, join someone.
Tokaji hadn’t taken too kindly to the news.
His hand slams into the wall beside Izaki’s head, his eyes narrowed and jaw clenched.
“I’ve been asking you for months to join us,” he growls, glaring, “yet now you go and do this?”
Izaki snorts, rolling his eyes even though he knows it’ll only wind Tokaji up even more in his little tirade – it was what they did, after all…push each other’s buttons.
“What is it that Takiya has that Serizawa doesn’t?” His voice is low, his eyes darkening.
Perhaps Izaki is aware that he’s pushing further than usual, but he doesn’t really care much. Things have been boring, recently, even with the inevitable fight between Tamao and Genji lurking.
“You mean what does Genji have that you don’t?” Izaki smiles sardonically, waiting for the words to process.
Tokaji’s mouth is open as he blinks several times in quick succession, as though trying to process what has just been said.
“What…you-,” Tokaji stutters as he leans backwards from Izaki’s face and their close proximity, his hand still against the wall.
“You heard me.” Izaki can’t keep the smugness from his voice, revelling in having the upper hand once again. “Dumbass.”
He knows Genji would go on a rampage if he found out Izaki had been talking to Tokaji behind everyone’s backs, particularly after being strung up black, blue and bloody by him a mere week ago.
Maybe that’s why he’s standing here with the ache still in his knees and ribs and staring Tokaji dead in the eye with equal parts malice and amusement.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Tokaji’s voice is almost a whisper, absent the usual shouting and accusatory tone.
Izaki supposes he should be mindful of the fact that whilst Tokaji isn’t stupid in a general sense, he has the emotional availability and intelligence of a Neanderthal.
“Exactly what I said, unless you’d like it explaining further,” Izaki moves towards Tokaji, grabbing his arm and moving it around his waist instead, “idiot.”
By this point, Tokaji seems to be permanently buffering, mouth opening and closing as his fingers twitch, his hand now pressed exactly where Izaki had manoeuvred it to his lower back. The closeness and near embrace seem to instil a vague panic in him.
It’s almost endearing.
“Stop fucking around and kiss me.” Izaki says, staring Tokaji dead in the eye.
This time, Tokaji only takes a second to blink before pressing Izaki against the wall, kissing him with the level of aggression Izaki expected initially, setting a frantic pace and even more frantic grasping of his shirt and back, which Izaki mirrors, albeit with more control.
“You’re so demanding.” Tokaji huffs, like a scolded child.
He looks bewildered when Izaki laughs loudly, covering his mouth and hiding his face near Tokaji’s shoulder.
Tokaji thinks it’s the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen, particularly since Izaki smiling is practically unheard of.
“Good. You need to be kept on your toes.”
It’s not as if anyone was any the wiser when they were rolling around in the mud during Tamao and Genji’s fight, trading punches and kicks just the same as everyone else.
They wouldn’t get it.
And why would they? To Izaki and Tokaji, their relationship thrived on one-upmanship and being competitive. It’s not like they were trying to kill each other, even if Tokaji took the loss of both his own fight and Tamao’s very personally.
He catches him on one of the stairwells, discarding his cigarette with a grouchy look on his face, not that it was any different than usual.
“Are you still sulking?” Izaki approaches him quietly, shaking his head softly.
Tokaji regards him with a particularly sulky glare, huffing as he looks away.
Izaki sneaks an arm around Tokaji’s waist, knowing that this was one of the few situations in which he’d have to initiate the affection rather than expecting Tokaji to. It wasn’t that he didn’t enjoy the contact, because he definitely did, but because he’d always struggled with trying to emote in a way that made sense to anyone but himself.
To his credit, Tokaji always seemed to understand, though.
He moves closer into the embrace, resting his head on Izaki’s shoulder with a heavy sigh, his hand cupping Izaki’s lower back like it was meant to be there.
Perhaps Izaki is enjoying the hug more than he’d ever admit, and perhaps he was squeezing Tokaji a little harder than usual as his way of attempting to cheer him up.
“I’m not sulking,” Tokaji glares at Izaki when he laughs into his neck, pinching his lower back, “not now, at least.”
The implication might leave Izaki feeling a little warm and fuzzy – that Tokaji felt better over a simple gesture that Izaki had initiated.
It might not make sense to anyone else, but it makes sense to them.