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i don’t know how to explain what’s happening here

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on nights end up in the same bed, they fall asleep together, a tangle of limbs and mussed hair. rintarou always wakes with goosebumps lining his arms, sheets folded at the end of the bed. the other side is always cold.

 

this morning, he has a crick in his neck. he hears a sink running—kitchen or bathroom, he isn’t quite sure. grabbing his phone and slipping into a pair of lime green joggers probably too short for him, he heads out to the main room. 

 

motoya, already at the bar, hardly looks up when rintarou pads past where he’s sitting. it must’ve been the kitchen sink rintarou heard. “today’s gonna be a conditioning day, probably,” he says, more into his mug than at the actual human being in the same room as him. “coach hasn’t made us run in a while.”

 

“i’m sure you’re real excited for that, weirdo,” rintarou quips over the creak of the cupboard opening, grabbing a glass.

 

motoya smiles. “what, is it so weird for a professional athlete to enjoy running? sorry i actually like my job.” he takes a drink, peering over the brim of his mug. komori motoya is peering over the brim of his mug and the sun decides to filter through their half-opened blinds and cast itself over 

 

rintarou is so glad he’s not a poetic person.

 

to be frank, rintarou doesn’t really understand what’s going on between the two of them. at all. they’re roommates, since they signed with raijin a month apart and splitting rent seemed like the most cost efficient option for two fresh high school graduates. and they’re teammates, obviously, they’re in the same starting lineup and wear the same off-white and blue uniforms two times a week. rintarou would even go so far as to say they’re friends. best friends, maybe. there’s not many other people he can bring up for comparison.

 

the issue here is that best friends don’t typically make out in bathroom stalls at grimy izakayas. best friends don’t stumble home together and fall asleep in the same bed but wake up separately. best friends don’t fold the sheets and smirk at each other across their kitchen and best friends don’t do it all over and over again.

 

the money they spent on two beds when first moving in wasn’t entirely wasted—rintarou’s sister visits frequently, and some nights motoya spends on the phone with his cousin for hours on end and rintarou finds it best not to intrude, and sometimes he just wants to be alone. but it’s easier to stay in the place you’ve ended up after stumbling home arm-in-arm with someone craving the same kind of warmth as you.

 

(and it’s not like they even talk about what happens the day after. feverish kisses go unacknowledged by the time sun-up rolls around. rintarou wonders if it’s out of shame.)

 

“are those my pants?” motoya snaps rintarou back to reality, squinting at his outfit. rintarou looks down at himself and it registers that yeah, these are pretty ill-fitting. and pretty green.

 

“yeah, my bad,” he grabs a banana out of the fruit bowl on the counter. “they were right there. didn’t feel like doing anything too, uh, extraneous this morning.”

 

“no, it’s okay. they look good on you.”

 

rintarou glances over his shoulder. “oh, really?”

 

“yeah, you pull off the whole highwaters look really well. is there a flood coming?” motoya snickers, and when rintarou fully turns around to pull a face, full-on laughs. the sound fills the room, raucous and slightly nasally, and rintarou is once again thankful he was never very good at literature so the gaping feeling in his chest can’t be described in pretty words.

 

he doesn’t know what he wants out of this. it’s difficult to analyze—despite motoya’s personability and cheer, rintarou doesn’t know all that much about him. for all he knows, proposing something more than what’s happening right now might scare him, or drive him away, or worse, make rintarou look dumb for assuming whatever gaping feeling he’s experiencing is mutual. he doesn’t want to lose his best friend because he ended up a mile and a half outside of catching feelings after causally hooking up with him for 5 months.

 

motoya is different—not in a revolutionary way, not in some groundbreaking, soulmate-adjacent way that keeps rintarou up at night. it’s very easy to remember a life without him in it, but rintarou thinks he likes the one he has with motoya a little bit better. he likes having someone around he doesn’t want to throttle (unlike being with the twins), and he likes how there’s never a dull moment when they’re together, and he likes his smile and isn’t that all you really need to see in a person to justify liking them? 

 

does rintarou actually…

 

he takes a bite of his banana, still scowling.

 

motoya wipes his eyes and sighs. “i’m sorry i bruised your ego, rin,” he coos, faking remorse. “i’ll kiss it better if you want me to. if you’re really that hurt.”

 

“i’ll pass, thanks,” rintarou says through a mouthful of banana. he maneuvers himself around motoya’s scooted-out stool, tugging on one of the other man’s cowlicks as he passes. “make sure to actually eat something before we head out. water won’t get you through conditioning day.”

 

he can hear the smile in motoya’s voice when he says, “so considerate! you’re like a doting little housewife sometimes. or…i guess husband. my doting little househusband.”

 

(how could there be shame here when his words drip of a real, sticky sweetness foreign to his ears?)

 

rintarou scoffs. “in your dreams, maybe. don’t get used to the niceties. you’re undeserving most of the time, anyways.” motoya hums.

 

“have a fun time brushing your teeth!”

 

“i’m going to enjoy brushing my teeth so much.” rintarou deadpans, whirling around, walking backwards into the bathroom. “you’re never going to believe it.”

 

the door clicks shut. he stares at himself in the mirror, tugs at his bottom eyelids.

 

(do you know? are you ashamed?)

 

(i don’t think you are.)