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Let Me Care

Chapter Text

It had been a week since Celestia’s execution, along with Hifumi and Taka’s death. Hiro wandered aimlessly, mostly, with even fewer people to converse with. Makoto seemed to mostly want to talk to Kyoko now, while Hina and Sakura spent their main time together. He...wasn’t comfortable with Syo and Toko just yet, Toko was fine but he could never tell when Syo was about to front. Plus, she was convinced nobody liked her so any conversation was difficult.

Well, there was always Byakuya-- or, Togami, as the heir insisted. Sure, maybe they weren’t the closest of friends, but a guy could still try, right?

To be entirely honest, maybe he was just trying to distract himself from...the deaths. He had tried to help Taka, honestly-- with the depression after his bro got churned. But then he’d gotten framed for a murder, and shoved in a robot suit, only to watch the gothic-chick get ran over. Truly not ideal.

Maybe that’s why he found himself in the library, mindlessly looking at the spines of books while Byakuya sat at the main table.

Byakuya was still indifferent to the killings, at least the mask presented that way. Whilst the last trial had been...Concerning, the reasons for that did not matter. Right now, he was just pleased by the fact that Toko nor Syo was bothering him.

Yasuhiro, however, while not being a bother was still being irksome.

“You’re not actually planning to read, are you?” Byakuya sighed, looking up with a raised brow.

“Huh?”

“I didn’t believe it was within your skillset,” He explained.

“Hey! I’ll have you know I can read well...When it’s interesting, at least,”

“Interesting?” He paused, “So you want books regarding your talent, then? To the left section, middle, top, then, that mostly holds books with any sort of religious theme, so clairvoyance and divination are held there,”

“Divination isn’t anything like clairvoyance! Don’t mash us in with those weirdos, clairvoyance is much better--”

“Find your book, Yasuhiro. Talk later, I doubt you can accomplish both at once,”

Huh, so Byakuya was permitting him to talk later? Hiro would take that, better than their other interactions. He followed the blonde’s directions and found the section he was referring too, and began to flip through some of the books. He eventually found a book on the Tarot that seemed at least slightly interesting...Always good to refresh some skills.
Byakuya didn’t protest when Hiro sat next to him, though his eyes did flicker upwards for a moment.

The book was interesting enough though it didn’t give very much new information, just the basics about the card’s meanings. Eventually, he shut it, and just stared off into space, allowing his brain to wander.

Byakuya noticed a lot of things. He noticed what triggered Toko’s switches, whether it was for Syo or another alter. He noticed the lingering gazes between Sakura and Hina, along with Makoto and Kyoko. And, naturally, he noticed Yasuhiro. He noticed the slight eyebags appearing, how his stubble was getting rougher, and that he wasn’t eating as much. Along with that, he noticed that he didn’t seem to be partaking in much hygiene besides dental-wise.

He noticed the others lagging similarly, It just happened that he tended to take Yasuhiro’s...Harder. Naturally, it was just because he was allowing the male in his presence and anything besides the clairvoyant’s best just would not do...Naturally.

“Are you feeling alright?” It was a simple question, but Yasuhiro’s head snapped to stare at Byakuya with bewilderment.

“...Huh?”

“I will not repeat myself,”

“Uh-- Yeah. Why? You’ve never asked that--”

“Your hair is unclean and you’ve been shaving less,” It was a blunt observation, but Hito noticed how Byakuya’s eyebrows drew together slightly.
He’d predicted that maybe Byakuya was going to start caring eventually, and look! 30% chance!

“You don’t have to wash dreads as much,” He explained, trying to wave the other student away. However, that only seemed to make the other tense up even more.

“Yes, but you’re still required to wash them once a week with a clear shampoo to avoid residue, then dry them with a microfiber towel preferably to avoid residue. And take regular showers.”

“...Why do you know that, Byakuya?” Hiro asked, confused.

“Don’t ask stupid questions. You also haven’t eaten an adequate amount, and based on your liquid habits you’re likely dehydrated,”

“...Thanks for noticing?”

Byakuya let out a small huff, “You can’t expect to survive a killing game if you allow yourself to become a target, Hagakure,”

“I’m Hagakure again? I thought we got past that when I let you hide from Toko in my room,”

Byakuya’s entire face flushed, “Excuse you-- I was not-- No- You will return to Yasuhiro once you remove the threat of being eliminated!”

The momentary lack of composure caused Hiro to let out a laugh, “If you care, Byakuya, you know you can just say that?”

“No-- It would just be...Inadequate, for you to die. You’re tolerable, and besides that would be too expected, it’s boring,”

“Right. Well, I’m fine, so stop worrying, dude.”

Byakuya placed his bookmark in his book and shut it before placing it gently on the table. He only seemed to have to think for a moment before he looked at Hiro again, and spoke.

“We are going to the cafeteria. I will make you tea, and you will drink it. Come,” Byakuya stood up and strode out of the library, making Hiro scramble to stand up and follow.

Chapter Text

At the start of the killing game, Hiro never really thought he would be watching Byakuya make tea for him, but there they were. His movements were exact, and though they were precise he seemed to mostly be moving from muscle memory compared to thought.

His posture was still straight, though somewhat relaxed.

“We are alone, you know, so at any time you can begin to talk,” Byakuya eventually broke the silence.

“Oh, what do you wanna hear about? I can predict your future--”

“No. You.” Byakuya fixed him with a stern gaze.

“Huh?”

“Talk about what’s wrong, Hagakure?”

“I told you, man, I’m good,”

“Do not call me man,” Byakuya finished stirring Hiro’s tea and handed it to him. He...Had remembered how much sugar Hiro put in, without ever being told.

At that moment Hiro could think of a million other things he’d like to call Byakuya, but like always he pushed that away. Just like he always did.

“Thanks, Byakuya,”

“I think you’ll enjoy that tea, that blend of spices is known for more spiritual purposes due to its herb and spice mixture,”

“You picked it out for me?”

“It appears that there’s some sort of drink that all of us enjoy, I assumed that one was for you but do to the fact it was untouched I thought you must have not seen it,”

“...Well, thank you,”

Byakuya nodded and the pair both sat down together at a table.

“You’re right, this is good,”

“Of course I’m correct,”

“Why? Because you always are or because it’s tea?”

Byakuya stares at him for a long moment, long enough to fully regret what he’s going to say, “Because it’s you.”

Oh. Oh. That...That was a new response from Byakuya.

“Now inform me of what is wrong, I dislike not knowing things,"

“I dunno, it’s probably stupid but I feel bad about Taka. And the other two,”

“Yet, you didn’t do anything?”

“That’s the problem, still wish I could have helped Taka before…”

“You understand I don’t want you like...he was, then?”

“Not the same situation, man, I’m fine,”

“Again your lack of hygiene suggests--”

“I just don’t feel like it. What’s the purpose?”

“...The purpose is hygiene?”

“Yeah, but that isn’t feeling,”

“...Then feel like taking a shower,”

“There’s no point,”

“Hygiene can help your mental health, and while you being a tad dumb and happy is a bit annoying at the time, it’s better than your sadness,”

“...Is that you trying to say you want me happy?”

“Don’t misread, Hagakure,”

“So it was then?”

“Your predictions are wrong 70% of the time,”

Hiro smiles somewhat thinly, “I’ll be okay, bud. Don’t worry about me, I just don’t want to take a shower,”

“Why?”

“Eh, too difficult,”

“I’ll help,” Byakuya says before he even thinks. His face flushes bright red and Hiro stares at him.

“Uh...Excuse me?”

“If you can’t do it, then I’ll assist you. Platonically.”

“Uh...I dunno how that would work, Byakuya,”

“I do. Allow me, then you don’t have to continue looking like that,”

“...Fine. Worth a shot,”

Chapter Text

Byakuya truly should have thought about this more, beforehand, but...Here he was, standing in Yasuhiro’s bedroom. Platonically.

“Uh, again you really know you don’t have to worry about this, right man?”

“Refrain from wasting my time when decisions have already occurred,”

“Isn’t this below a Togami?” Yasuhiro tried, obviously racking his brain to find a statement that would work.

“Having to be around people that don’t take care of themselves is below a Togami,”

“Alright, but how exactly are you supposed to even help me? Seriously, I got it, man,”

“Do you need a step by step analysis?”

“Byakuya--”

“You will remove your clothing and wear a spare towel around your waist, and I will attempt to get the shower to the correct temperature. I’m assuming you have the correct shampoo as we all received hygienic products matched to our particular routines under our sinks. I will help you wash your hair as they are mature locks and therefore don’t have the chance of becoming messed up. I also locked your door, already,” Byakuya finished, and ended his plan with a curt nod. Almost as if he was confirming it for himself.
Hiro couldn’t help but stare at Byakuya for a moment, almost bewildered. This specifically landed in the “doing something for other people” category, as much as Byakuya was trying to deny it.

“You really want to help?”

“Yes, now come on,”

Hiro shrugged and walked into the bathroom, leaning against the far wall so Byakuya could do whatever it was he needed.

“While you’re waiting you can get out a set of clothes for later,” Byakuya instructed.

Hiro followed his order and went back into his room, pulling out some fresh clothes while Byakuya seemed to go looking in his cabinet based on what little noise the blonde made.

Hiro set the clothing on his bed and came back in to see Byakuya had gotten out two towels, the razor for his face, and the shampoo.

“Again, you don’t have to do this. Actually, I predict…” Hiro paused, thinking, “You don’t want to,”

“You’re wrong. Again. Take off your clothes and put the smaller towel around your waist,”

“Woah-- right here?”

“I’m getting the water correct, not looking at you,” Byakuya huffed, “But if it makes you more comfortable I will wait in your room until you’re done,”

“No, it’s fine, I just thought you’d’ be bothered by it since you’re all uptight and all,”

And while Yasuhiro was correct that Byakuya was bothered, it wasn’t because he was ‘uptight’. Rather, hearing the other just to the side of him doing something...Intimate, in a way, was forcing Byakuya to use all his willpower to not allow his mask to slip.

They were...Friends. Friends did things for each other. (Friends also did not get flustered over the other doing basic things, but Byakuya was going to ignore that.)

“Hey, I’m done,” Hiro said, with that stupid grin of his when Byakuya turned around. To be honest he was feeling a bit, well, nervous regarding it. But hey, if Byakuya wanted to do something, Hiro knew there was no way to change his mind.

It was hard to miss the way Byakuya quickly glanced up and down at Yasuhiro, but somehow the other completely missed the action.

“The temperature is as good as it will likely be,”

“...Right,”

“Get in,” Byakuya rolled his eyes.

Hiro did, making sure to hold the towel tightly to avoid any possible mishappenings. In order to access Hiro, Byakuya would have to partially lean into the shower and would certainly get his arms wet.

“You might get wet, dude,” Hiro pointed out. Byakuya frowned slightly like he hadn’t realized that yet. With a slight sigh, he took off his outer jacket and laid it where it wouldn’t get messed up before rolling up his sleeves.

“Inconvenient,” Byakuya said.

“I’ve never seen you without your jacket on, ya know,”

“You likely won’t again,”

“Aw, c’mon, you look nice without it on,”

...Yasuhiro thought he looked nice? That was new. His movements faltered for a moment, but to quickly make up for it he grabbed the shampoo.

“You’re going to need to lean slightly, your hair makes you tall,”

“...Right,” Yasuhiro said, then obliged. The water was warm, but not burning. Actually perfect, like Byakuya had said he was attempting.

His hands gently applied soap around Hiro’s scalp, covering the entire area without any missing spots. His touch was much gentler than Hiro had ever seen him act, partially massaging the skin there. Hiro felt his body untense, his breathing falling into a steady motion.

Byakuya worked the shampoo into Hiro’s hair, making sure to get around every lock. The water wasn’t hitting against Hiro’s head at a moment, but it felt like Byakuya was still forming a lather.

Natural ingredients tended to not cause much soapiness, but Byakuya was still trying to get everything as clean as possible. After the lather had been formed, he genuinely began to massage Yasuhiro’s scalp. It...Wasn’t really necessary, but Yasuhiro didn’t need to know that.

The repetitive motion along with the slight heat coming from the shower was relaxing, even to Byakuya, though perhaps it was just because he was around Yasuhiro. If he had done this for anyone else, he’d likely still be tense and “proper” but at the moment he couldn’t quite care enough.

Besides, Yasuhiro’s eyes were closed, so he allowed himself to indulge in the other’s visual for a moment. The soft contour of his jaw, the gentle curl of his eyelashes. The veins on his hands and arms, the bit of muscle that normally couldn’t be seen, showing he was far stronger then he looked--

Okay, that was enough. His task was to clean Yasuhiro, not stare at him.

After a bit he began to wash the dreads themselves, being extra delicate and just spreading the lather over them mostly.

“Okay, Yasuhiro, bend your head back,”

Yasuhiro opened one eye and grinned, “Back to Yasuhiro, are we?”

...Byakuya was screwed.

Chapter Text

Hiro really hadn’t expected Byakuya to turn blush at that, but there they were. He quickly looked away from Hiro however and gestured to the water.

Hiro shrugged and leaned his head back, holding his breath when Byakuya returned his hands to his scalp.

After a little bit, Byakuya seemed satisfied, “Good. I have to do a second round but let it sit this time,” He explained, starting the process all over again. However, this time, Hiro could feel that the other’s hands were just slightly shaking. He didn’t say anything until he was told to wait, though.

“Are you okay, Byakuya?”

“Hmm? Naturally, why are you asking such stupid questions?”

“Your hands are shaking,” Hiro pointed out, eyes open and staring at Byakuya with intent.

“Incorrect,”

“...Alright. Anyways, where did you learn to wash dreads anyway?”

Oh. Oh, that was an interesting reaction. Immediately, Byakuya’s eyes widened partially and his face colored (It seemed to happen quite often, maybe because he was so pale). He glanced away from Hiro and seemed to attempt to regain his neutral expression.

“...Why are you embarrassed, man?”

“I’m not!” Byakuya said, too quickly, too fast.

“C’mon, if you had a partner with them or something that’s nothing to be embarrassed about,”

“...I didn’t,”

“Then what’s wrong?”

“I read about them recently, now shut up,”

“You...read about them. Why? That seems outside of your normal reading,”

Andddd, the blush was back.

“Byakuya did you…?” The rest of the sentence wasn’t said, but Byakuya seemed to understand the meaning.

“I- No! I didn’t read it for you, okay-- I--”

“I didn’t say that, Byakuya,” Hiro teased, in a slightly sing-song voice.

“You are insufferable. Yes. Fine. I did. Shut up,”

Hiro let out a booming laugh, “Aw, man, that’s sweet of you,”

“Yasuhiro, shut up--”

Then, before Byakuya could even prepare, Yasuhiro, and pulled him into a random...Hug. Normally he would have automatically shoved the offender off of him, but it was Yasuhiro and his chest was solid and his arms were--

He was getting wet.

“Hiro-- You’re getting me wet, get off--” Byakuya pulled back, disgruntled. His hair and the button up he wore were both wet now, entirely ruining his normally composed exterior.

However, Hiro was just gaping at him.

“What?”

“...Dude, you called me Hiro,”

“...Ignore that,”

“Nope, I’m Hiro now! Only took forever, but I’m finally Hiro to ya,”

“If it took forever it wouldn’t have occurred,”

“So you admit it,” Hiro grinned widely.

“Shut up, Hiro, you got me wet,”

“Oh...Yeah. Sorry about that,” He rubbed the back of his neck a bit sheepishly.

Byakuya sighed and removed his button-up, placing it next to his jacket. Hiro couldn’t help but stare. He’d gone from finally seeing Byakuya’s arms to seeing his entire chest now, and dang.

He was thin, with some but not very much muscle. Hiro was definitely stronger than him, something he’d remember to bring up if he ever needed to annoy Byakuya.

What was slightly concerning, however, was the number of random scars littered across Byakuya’s torso and arms.

They didn’t talk much, though Hiro began to rinse his hair on his own while Byakuya tried to find shaving cream. Byakuya insisted he was going to shave Hiro’s stubble, and Hiro stood still while Byakuya applied the shaving cream. However, curiosity killed the cat eventually, as time went on.

“Where’d your scars come from?”

“You’ll have to be more specific,”

Gingerly, Hiro tapped one that was laying on Byakuya’s shoulder.

“That one?”

“That one is from one of my siblings during our family’s “game”. She threw a bottle at me,”

Hiro tapped the few circular ones he could barely see, as most of it seemed to be on Byakuya’s back. Unfortunately, he could already identify their source, though not who caused them.

“That’s from my father,”

“...Oh. All of them?”

“Anything on my back is from my father,” Byakuya shrugged.

“What about these?” He gestured to the scars on both of Byakuya’s biceps.

“Partially from my eldest sister and partially from my own idiocy,”

“They look like rope burns,”

“They are. I tore my skin open from struggling against them,”

“Did that happen during your family’s game?”

“No. That occurred beforehand. I’m going to shave your face now, so refrain from speech,”

“Keeping telling me, though, I want to hear,”

“Fine,” Byakuya kept a steady gaze on Hiro’s face as he began to shave his cheeks, “The one on my ribs is from falling out of a tree when I was five. The one on my stomach is from burning myself when removing something from an oven when I was a teenager,” Byakuya paused for a moment to rinse off the razor.

“What about the ones on your inner arm?” Hiro asked softly. Too softly. Byakuya snapped his eyes towards him, eyebrows furrowing.

“By your tone, you can likely guess. I don’t want to talk about it, regardless,”

“Okay, but some of them look new--”

“Be quiet, if you plan on keeping your mouth,” Byakuya said and returned to shaving Hiro. However, the statements about his scars stopped with him and they stood with only the shower as a noise source.

“Done,” Byakuya eventually said, and put the razor and shaving cream away before getting a bottle of body wash and a washcloth.

“Turn,” He instructed, so Hiro did so.

Without any speech, he began to gently wash Hiro’s back, moving in circular motions and avoiding the towel that was covering his lower half. Hiro felt his eyes close again, focusing on Byakuya’s presence at his back.

They were probably reaching a risky territory, but they certainly were when Byakuya told Hiro to turn around and began to wash his chest. By the way, Byakuya was shaking, he could likewise sense the intimacy.

“You’re shaking again,” Hiro pointed out.

“Be quiet, Hiro,” Byakuya muttered as he began to wash his stomach, the washcloth the only barrier between their skin.

Byakuya could feel his own heartbeat fluttering as he washed the contours of Hiro’s chest, the moment practically tender. It was nearing off the edge of platonic, and that only increased when he felt calloused fingers on his chin. Brown eyes met blue ones, and Byakuya held his breath.

They stared at each other for a moment too long, Byakuya’s hand resting still on Hiro’s chest. Just as quickly as the moment had started, however, Byakuya ended it by stepping away.

“I’ll...Wait in your room while you finish everywhere else,” He said, before darting off and shutting the bathroom door.

Hiro sighed and began to start the final part of his shower.

Chapter Text

Once Hiro was done, he dried off and changed into his new clothing, tidying up his bathroom some. He couldn’t even lie, being clean did make him feel a bit better and more accomplished.

Byakuya was standing, with perfect posture as always, though he had tied up his hair in a small ponytail. Hiro had forgotten he’d gotten Byakuya wet, crap-- He quickly grabbed another small towel and brought over to Byakuya. It seemed he’d forgotten to grab one when he left the bathroom.

“Oh, thank you,” He said, drying himself off.

“Uh...I guess your shirt is wet too…”

“It’s fine,” Byakuya sighed.

“Um, well, I have a spare--” Hiro started looking through his drawers and the clothing he had been supplied before pulling out a plain short-sleeved black one. It would be a little big on Byakuya, but it would be better than nothing.

“Thanks,” Byakuya nodded, not complaining about something for once before pulling it over his head.

“I like your hair, by the way, never seen it like that,”

“I wear it like this when I’m alone,” Byakuya explained, “Your hair seems to have been dried adequately,”

“Yeah-- Uh, thank you. For all of that. And convincing me,”

“...Well, you don’t need to let yourself suffer. They’d still want you and the others to take care of yourselves,” Byakuya said, tone quieter than normal. They. As in the other students, those who had passed.

“Hey, don’t exclude yourself, you’re wanted--”

“No. I’m not. You don’t have to pretend,”

“I’m not, I think you’re wanted. Sure, the stuff with Chihiro was...Iffy, but as much as you try and say it was for entertainment I know you were just trying to expose Syo. Besides, you’d have told us about Mondo eventually, before the voting. I know you,”

Byakuya stares at the ground for a moment, “You are the only one who would ever think that,”

“I know that, and the 30 percent factor isn’t included. Even when you hide behind that mask you put up, you’re still you,”

The blonde crosses his arms, shielding himself partially.

“Look, you’re doing it again, you’re hiding. You don’t have too, Kuya,”

“...Kuya?”

“I’m Hiro, you’re Kuya. We match,”

Byakuya stands in silence for a moment, and Hiro watches as he fidgets. He doesn’t understand what Byakuya is hiding from. They’re friends, are they not?

“I should probably go back to my room, now,” Byakuya eventually speaks. Hiro doesn’t want him to go, and at that moment he can’t help but almost feel panicked.

Still, he opens his door and glances down the hallway. Hina and Sakura are at one end, but they wouldn’t bother Byakuya...But at that moment, he decides that he needs to lie. If his prediction is correct, Byakuya doesn’t want to leave either and he needs to stop him.

He quickly shuts the door and Byakuya looks at him with confusion.

“Er...Syo or Toko is kinda...Outside your door. Looks like Syo by the pose,” He lies. The effect is immediate thought, as Byakuya sighs.

“Please tell me you’re joking,”

“Wish I was, man. Really need to tell your girlfriend to back off,”

Byakuya has never felt so offended, and his expression tells that, “Dear God, she nor Syo are my girlfriend! That’s revolting--”

“Oh, I just figured-- I mean, she’s a girl-- well both of them are girls--”

“...You think I would like them due to the fact they identify as female?”

“I dunno, I assumed you were straight and Hina and Kyoko are kinda out of the question--”

“I’m not. Whatsoever. Again, you are wrong,” Byakuya rolls his eyes. However, his eyebrows are still slightly wrinkled like they always are when he’s nervous.

“Oh! Oh, I-- Crap, I didn't mean--”

“You’re extremely oblivious, Hiro,”

“No seriously, like that’s cool! I’m not either! Well, I am like, partially but yeah, dudes--”

“Preferably refrain from speech until you can form a coherent sentence,” Byakuya advises, and Hiro snaps his mouth shut. That just made his problem a whole lot bigger. He’d assumed he would never have a chance with Byakuya because of his gender, but...If that wasn’t the case…

“Um, anyway, you can wait here until she’s gone?”

“She’ll probably be there until the nighttime announcement,”

“That’s only a couple of hours. I’d say I could go to your room and get you a shirt but that would probably be more suspicious,”

“Best to just stay in here, likely,”

“Right. That’s cool. Um, you can sit with me if you want?” Hiro said, before sitting on his bed and gesturing to the spot next to him. Byakuya did so, sitting properly.

“You can relax, bud,” Hiro said.

“I am,” Byakuya said, “Are you?”

“You look uncomfortable, though,”

“I’m not. Are you feeling adequate?”

“Uh, yeah-- I’m feeling better, actually,”

“I’m glad,” Byakuya said, then returned to their conjoined silence. Hiro pulled out his tarot deck from his jacket pocket and began to idly shuffle it, not really thinking about much.
Still, his curiosity was nagging at him.

“Hey, Kuya, mind if I do a tarot spread for you?”

Chapter Text

Light blue eyes flickered over to him, not overly judgemental.

“I’m not paying you,”

“Pft, you don’t have to. I’m offering,”

“Then fine, go ahead,”

“What do you want to know?”

“I don’t particularly care, whatever interests you,”

“Okay...Well, how about I do a spread regarding who you are. The first card is for how you view yourself--” Hiro shuffled and laid a card down, “The Second is for your family. The third is for how others see you. Fourth is how I view you. And for fun, the fifth is how you feel regarding me,” With each number, Hiro would shuffle before placing a card he felt drawn towards down.

“...Okay,”

“I’ll turn them over now, then,”

One- reversed Judgement. Two- reversed Ten of Cups. Three- Five of Swords. Four- Six of Cups. Five- reversed Eight of Cups.

Reversed Judgement meant a lack of true self-awareness, accompanied by self-loathing and doubt.

Reversed Ten of Cups meant shattered dreams, domestic issues, unbalance, and a broken family.

Five of Swords was unending ambition, sneakiness, and a must-win mentality.

Six of Cups meant happy memories, familiarity, and healing.

Reversed Eight of Cups meant fear of loss and change, along with avoidance. The fear of losing people.

Hiro couldn’t think of a time he’d ever gotten more direct, clear cut answers. He didn’t even need to mash the meanings, they exactly fit each of their categories.

“Uh...So this one means-”

“I know the meaning of the cards,”

“You’ve studied Tarot?”

“Yes. I dislike this spread, and it is incorrect,” Byakuya declared.

“Um, are you okay, bud? Because you’re saying that, but you seem to be really bothered by it,”

“I’m not. Here, explain the fourth one,”

“Only if you say each card afterward,”

“..Fine,”

“Alright, well, your presence is familiar to me. It always has been, you’ve...Just always been a good aura, if that makes sense. Even when we first met. I like spending time with you, and you make me happy. I guess what is healing is the mistrust we originally had,”

“...Oh,”

“Here, start with five,”

“Um. It’s...Implying, then, that I’m afraid of losing you but also what’s between us changing so I try to avoid...something,” It wasn’t normal for Byakuya to be hesitant, or not have a clear answer, but his brain seemed to be running a mile-a-minute for Hiro ignored it for the moment.

“Three?”

“That’s just saying the others view me as being a snake essentially, which is probably the only correct card,”

“Two,”
“That’s trying to say my family is screwed up and has issues, which it doesn’t because the Togami name--”

“Uh, okay, just do one now,” That card seemed to make Byakuya annoyed, so he'd just move on from it.

“I don’t need to explain this,”

“If you don’t, I will,” Hiro tried. Byakuya stared at him silently.

“Alright, well, this card is saying that despite the fact you act so aloof and confident, you don’t really know yourself and likely deeply dislike who you are and pretend to be. You doubt yourself constantly and hide that by pretending to be right all the time,”

“...I don’t like your cards, and that’s incorrect,”

“Pull another one, then,”

“Fine, what does this pull represent?”

“How about it’s us two? In general, future, current, whatever,”

“...Fine,”

Hiro shuffled the cards, then split them multiple times to make sure that Byakuya knew that he couldn’t specifically make him draw a certain card.

Then, he fanned all of them out. Byakuya stared at the cards intently, before drawing one from the left side of the deck.

Hiro stacked the cards again, then took the card from Byakuya and flipped it.

The Lovers. Unity, partners, relationships, balance, romance, love.

Byakuya's face turned bright red and Hiro could feel himself start to flush too, though he tried to steady his expression. Byakuya had been the one that was composed earlier, he could be that one now.

“Are you sure they’re incorrect?”

“You--you’re not...disgusted or peeved or annoyed?”

“Why would I be, Kuya?”

“You believe in this,” He gestured to the tarot deck, “And I just pulled that.

“Yeah. Could mean friendship or a relationship though,”

“...Right,” Byakuya said, that delicately crafted mask of his cracking again.

“I’d prefer the last one, though,”

“You would?” And for once, Hiro has finally make Byakuya look entirely dumbstruck.

“I would. I promise,” He adds as an afterthought, and watches as the heir’s eyes open in...Surprise? Amazement?

“Oh.”

“What about you? What would you prefer? You can be truthful, man, it won’t bother me,” Hiro says, though he feels like his chest might collapse. He thinks for a moment, searching the universe for an answer. He’s told that he is going to be rejected, and his heart drops. However, Byakuya then speaks.

“...I’d like the same as you,”

“Wait, really?” Hiro can’t believe it.

Byakuya nods, crossing his arms again. However, it seems less like he’s trying to be aloof and more like he’s curling into himself.

“Can I hug you?” Hiro asks, wanting to be respectful, but he doesn’t receive a verbal answer.

Instead, Byakuya stares at him for a moment before quickly closing the distance in between them with his arms. Chuckling slightly, Hiro hugs him back.

Chapter Text

Byakuya can feel himself shake, but he can’t even bring himself to care at the moment. Hiro likes him. Actually likes him, even though he’s seen his arrogance and pride and rude tendencies. He’s never had someone like his existence before, especially once he started showing more parts of himself.

Sure, Toko and Syo both thought they liked him but Toko was just confused and craving attention. Syo just enjoyed men she found attractive. Byakuya hadn’t talked to many of the other alters in their system, but based on the fact they all had individual emotions he doubted they had any opinion on him. Besides a negative one, perhaps.

There were girls like Toko at his old schools, ones who would blush and repeatedly ask him on dates no matter how many times he said no. There were a few guys, too, but he never interacted with them because his father had always said that being-- No. His father didn’t matter right now. Hiro mattered.

“...Are you okay, Kuya?”

“Yes,” He finally speaks, finding it hard. It’s obviously because he’s so emotional, but still, it’s annoying. A Togami shouldn’t feel.His father had always told him that but...Hiro made him feel, unfortunately.

“C’mere,” Hiro pulls him onto his lap, feeling the other student tense but then continue holding onto Hiro as he had previously.

“You don’t have to hold me,”

“I want to, but why are you shaking? You do that a lot, ya know?”

“Just around you,” Byakuya half-grumbled, “It’s hard to explain,”

“I know I might be sorta dumb, but I’ll listen,”

“...My capacity for emotions is smaller than other people’s, so it takes smaller amounts of emotions to get a reaction out of me sometimes. Normally I can mask it by pretending to not care, but…”

“But what?”

“It’s harder with you, and especially when we’re touching because it makes the emotions stronger. I’m trying to repress it so it causes physical reactions at times,”

“That’s...complicated. But if hiding makes you freak out why don’t you just show how you feel?”

“No, that’s not happening,”

“No?”

Hiro can feel Byakuya shake his head and stop talking.

“I know it might take a while, but you can be yourself around me, Kuya,”

“You can, likewise,”

“I know that, but I don’t think you do,”

“I know the majority of things, Hiro, I’m quite intelligent,”

Normally Hiro would just laugh at that and move on, but that's probably what Byakuya was expecting. He was using it to try and deflect the situation away from himself.

“Yeah, but that doesn’t change the fact you’re still trying to be someone else sometimes,” Gently, Hiro pulls back a little bit so he can lift Byakuya’s face up.

“I’m not, Hiro,”

“Really? You’re always acting like you’re someone else and that nothing can hurt you, and I still like you when you’re acting all superior and stuff, but...How much of it is an act, Kuya?”

“That-- No, that doesn’t...Mean anything,” Byakuya fidgets with his glasses, pushing them up.

“You can trust me with yourself, I promise,”

“...You don’t have to do that, Hiro,”

“But I want to,”

“Why?” The question is so simple, but the fact he’s even asking is enough to make Hiro want to scream to the heavens. Because--

“You know how you wanted me to let you take care of me earlier, right?”

“...Yes,”

“Let me do that for you too, but...Emotionally. You’re perfect, but you can handle the smart stuff. I got the weird emotional stuff,”

“You want to…” Byakuya trails off.

“Well, I want to care for you any way you’ll let me. Physically or emotionally, I don’t really have a preference, I’ll stop rambling now--”

“You are aware you’re the only person I’d ever allow to touch me, yes?”

“I wasn’t but uh, thanks?”

Byakuya nodded, “You’re welcome.”

In Byakuya’s own, weird way, Hiro assumed that was his way of trying to tell Hiro he was comfortable with being touched by him.

“I’m guessing you don’t want to talk about how you mask your emotions right now?” Hiro asked.

“Ah, no, not really,”

“Well...Do you wanna talk about other emotions? Like us?”

“Us? Um...Well, when we are out of this hellhole, I would like to take you on a date if that’s acceptable,”

Hiro grinned at that, “I’d love to go on a date with you, but does that mean we’re together? I just want to confirm, gotta know your feeling,”

“...I’d like to be,”

“Nice. Nice, that’s awesome. That’s great,”

Byakuya nods in agreement.

“Hey-- Kuya, can I...Er, kiss you? You can say no! Or not right now--”

“No, no-- yes. You may. I just, I haven’t--”

“Oh. Oh, so I’d...Be your first. Alright, we don’t have to, then--”

“No. No, I want you to be,” Byakuya hesitates, “I hate to admit I don’t know things, but I’m unfamiliar with how to do...This,”

“It’s okay. It’s simple. Just let me take care of you,” Hiro grins, almost cockily, and Byakuya would have rolled his eyes even if he wasn’t about to experience a heart attack.

As Hiro leaned in he felt his heart race, but he still closed his eyes and also leaned in, tilting his head slightly to make it more comfortable. It seemed like other people generally did that.

Byakuya’s lips were soft, gentle. Of course they were, chapped lips would probably be below a Togami. Still, their gentleness was a deep contrast to how Byakuya’s generally talked-- sharp and to the point.

Hiro’s lips were against his and Byakuya thought that he was going to internally combust. Instead of doing that though, he just reciprocated the action.

Chapter Text

They spent the rest of their time in Hiro’s room mostly next to each other, just sitting in silence with their limbs connecting them. Both of them were completely dry, too, which was nice.

The silence wasn’t bothersome. It allowed Byakuya to sit, just thinking of whatever was interesting to him at the moment. In most situations, that would mean he was thinking of Hiro. However, for the time being, he had no worries regarding the two of them, so his brain was allowed to think of other things.

Hiro mostly messed with his Tarot deck, smiling whenever he passed over the Lovers card. Some of the cards Byakuya had pulled earlier still concerned him, but they could work on that. If the others ever figured out that they were closer than friends, it might improve their view of Byakuya as a whole. After all, if Byakuya could like someone like him, it probably meant his opinion of the others wasn’t as harsh as it seemed. Plus, he could eventually try to get Byakuya to express himself more which might help with the superiority facade.

He’d honestly take whatever he could get, though, no matter how long it took to get Byakuya to loosen up around him. Hiro was sure that it would happen. Well...At least 30% sure.

Eventually, the nightly announcement rang out.

“Hmm, guess you’d better wait a few minutes to avoid everyone returning to their rooms,” Hiro advised.

Byakuya nodded, “Yeah, not preferable. Which one was at my door, again?”

“Oh, it was Syo,” Hiro lied again.

The blonde raised an eyebrow before nodding, “Right.”

“Toko is probably gonna freak if she finds out about us-- I don’t think Syo would care though, honestly, she can find another hot dude,”

“Glad to know that’s how you think of me,” Byakuya said, dryly.

“Hey, you’re my hot dude,” Hiro grinned.

“You’re insufferable,” Byakuya sighed, but his tone was joking.

“Not my fault you like me,” Hiro joked back.

A few minutes passed before Hiro finally spoke again.

“You could spend the night, you know?”

“As much as I enjoy your presence, I’ll need clothing tomorrow and the chances of someone seeing us increase,”

“They’ll find out eventually,”

“Yes, and I don’t particularly care as long as you’re fine with it, but not tomorrow,”

“You could bring some clothing back here?”

“You mean for tomorrow?”

“Yeah, then you don’t have to worry about sneaking into your room in the morning,”

“That’s...A good idea. I will do that, then,”

“Nice,” Hiro said, before grinning, “You can probably head off now?”

Byakuya nodded, removing himself from Hiro’s gentle hold though the removal of warmth wasn’t ideal.

“I’ll be right back,” He said, and opened the door, “Oh, and Hiro?”

“Yeah?”

“The next time you want me to spend time with you, you don’t need to use Toko or Syo as an excuse,”

“Huh? You knew?”

“Naturally, you changed who was fronting. And Toko, in particular, tends to give up standing by my doorway around 2 pm,”

“...Oh. I’m sor--”

“Don’t apologize. I’m glad you did, I had no other excuse to stay with you at the time, though I wanted to,” Byakuya said, and left the room with a small smile.

Hiro watched him go with a grin, leaning back onto his bed. There was no way he could have ever predicted this outcome. He had always assumed his feelings would be rejected but...There they were.

Thankfully the hallway was empty and Byakuya was able to get into his room with no complaints. While he didn’t enjoy change very often, he could tolerate it for tonight because of Hiro.

Gathering his clothes and heading back to Hiro’s room, Byakuya couldn’t help but smile to himself.

He would likely tolerate anything for Yasuhiro Hagakure.