kaoru stared at his laptop screen, rereading his email correspondence with rei over, and over. they’d talked at length about UNDEAD’s upcoming live outfits - koga and adonis were, to their seniors’ fortune, surprisingly compliant in whatever they had to wear, rarely coming up with any complaints. that left rei with the responsibility of talking to kaoru about their outfit designs, wanting to make sure his fellow graduate was satisfied with the outfits they’d be wearing soon enough.
kaoru was too, for the most part. the outfits screamed UNDEAD from head to toe. black shirt and maroon pants, adorned with chains that suited their unit to a tee. he could already picture himself performing in the outfit, content with the image of himself he’d conjured in his mind.
there was just one teensy problem.
Before I forget, the make-up is non-negotiable according to our dearest Producer. That includes the matching nail polish, though we won’t be doing it ourselves.
non-negotiable?? the nail polish?????
Yes?? That is what I said. Making an old man such as myself doubt his own words...how cruel, Kaoru. I shall chase up our dearest Producer for the day of our outfit fittings, then I’ll send you the dates with our doggy and Adonis ~ :^)
rei using emoticons was...as jarring as usual. his main gripe though-
the nail polish.
there was a lot that kaoru had had to unteach himself upon joining UNDEAD. the toxic stereotypes his old classmates had put into his head, hatred his father had helped him foster for years - it was only recently he’d found himself able to open up to rei, izumi and chiaki that he wasn’t as straight as he’d paraded himself out to be, even though he hadn’t quite put a label on it yet.
there wasn’t anything wrong with men wearing nail polish, he knew that. tons of male idols performed with their nailed painted, making their outfits pop as the colors matched up. he’d lost count of the amount of times rei had shown up to practice with his nails painted black (as per the twin’s doing), adonis sometimes being in the same state (as per narukami-san’s doing.) it looked nice on them, on other guys he’d seen with painted nails.
kaoru just...hadn’t ever had his nails painted before.
could he even pull it off? kaoru had no clue. his other unitmates could, he knew that. as for kaoru himself though, he couldn’t be sure.
well, maybe couldn’t wasn’t the right word here. he looked up at his roommate sat on his own bed. nagisa was away on adam duties, leaving kaoru alone with yuta. he liked yuta. he was more subdued than his twin counterpart, and was a rather calming presence 1 on 1.
yuta also just happened to have his nails painted. 2wink always did.
the aoi twin glanced up from his phone. “yeah?”
kaoru mentally kicked himself for not preparing himself before calling out to his junior. he brought his hand up to his cheek, tracing the skin with his finger.
“w-well. i wanted to ask for your help on something, actually.” he watched as yuta shifted position, readily discarding his phone. he blinked up at him curiously, his intrigue peaked. “so, UNDEAD have a live coming up, right? it’s the usual, just...our outfits. it’s sort of a necessity for us to have our nails painted for them and i’ve never really had my nails painted before so...” his voice trailed off at the end, the awkward feeling blossoming in his chest already at an all-time high.
“are you asking me to paint your nails for you, hakaze-senpai?”
“yeah. if you’re free of course, i don’t want to-”
kaoru blinked. his gaze didn’t leave yuta, he was certain of that.
the younger twin now sat before him, a painted plastic box suddenly settled on his lap. he smiled at kaoru with what had to have been an air of excitement, mixed in with pride. yuta held onto the box with both hands, grasp firm on it as if it was something he held close to him.
“you don’t know how long i’ve been waiting for you to ask me that.” yuta gleamed, his smile practically glowing. he got up, with kaoru feeling his bed dip that little bit as yuta sat beside him. he noted the perfume yuta had on, a familiar scent to kaoru in the time he’d spent around the aoi brother. hinata and yuta seemed to switch perfumes whenever it suited them, he’d realised, but there was something so unmistakably them about it, that it was pleasant to his nostrils.
“to...do my nails? wait, why.”
“it’s fun! plus, your nails are all pretty and manicured already, see? there’s so much potential here, senpai!” he let go of the box to grasp at one of kaoru’s hands, his fingers cradling the top half of kaoru’s hand whilst his thumb lightly traced at his knuckles. true to yuta’s words, kaoru had gotten a manicure as per request of izumi the last time he visited. he thought it looked alright, though yuta seemed much more enthralled by the job.
“o-oh. i mean, you’re the expert here i guess so if you think they look nice, thank you.” he smiled. yuta’s hands were smaller than his, more calloused from all the stunts and tricks 2wink had to do for their performances. normally, he’d recoil somewhat at this sort of casual touch from another guy...though yuta’s closeness hadn’t ever made him feel that way. neither had hinata’s.
he blamed rei’s weird parental vibes for that one. he’d been...rather shit to the twins at times, but his position as the twin’s fatherly figure for a while had admittedly rubbed on kaoru. just a bit. not that he’d ever admit that.
“did you paint your own nails?” kaoru used his free hand to point at yuta’s fingers, causing the twin to glance at his hands subconsciously. they were painted purple, matching the sweater yuta had on. it went nicely with the aqua clips still planted comfortably in his hair.
yuta nodded, smiling sheepishly. “i’m not as good at it as aniki is, but i think it turned out nicely enough. it’s easier to paint someone else’s nails rather than your own anyway, so you can trust me to not fuck it up, senpai.”
“i didn’t think you would fuck it up? well...even if you do, it’s not like i can complain.” he paused for a moment. “...yours look nice, yuta-kun.”
“really? thanks senpai~” yuta didn’t look like he believed it as firmly as kaoru would’ve hoped for, but his smile didn’t waver. the twin flipped open the box in his lap, allowing both himself and kaoru a proper look in. the UNDEAD member’s initial reaction was nothing short of holy shit - the amount of nail polish yuta had was...no joke. the box was filled with rows of nail polish, the small bottles sorted into neat color-coordinated rows.
kaoru also noted the isolated row of nail polish, only two bottles sat beside each other and away from all the others in the box: a pink bottle of nail polish and an aqua bottle of nail polish. kaoru thought it was a cute touch.
“hmm...did sakuma-senpai tell you what color your nails were gonna be painted for your performance?” yuta asked, before lifting a finger up to his lips. “if it’s confidential, i promise i won’t tell anyone. twin’s honor, you know~?”
“aha, i wasn’t told. the outfits are like black...with some maroon here and there?” yuta nodded, seemingly taking a note of this in his mind. he kept his gaze on kaoru’s nails, studying them for a while before turning his attention to the collection of nail polish bottles he had.
yuta hummed. “i see...UNDEAD’s usual color motif is black, right?” his free hand traced the bottles, going through them until his eyes lit up, finding what he was looking for. “i’ll go with you then.”
yuta pulled out a small bottle of black nail polish, holding it up so kaoru could see it too. he recognised the brand as one that’d partnered with 2wink and knights a little while back. the bottle had clearly been used, looking to be ¾ of the way full.
“this’d look nice with your practice clothes. hakaze-senpai also looks pretty good in black, so it’s a win win situation.”
“hmm, really? i guess i’ll trust you then.” yuta was pleased to hear it. he plopped the nail polish bottle down on the bed, pulling out a bottle of clear polish in its stead. with a chuckle, kaoru couldn’t help but add, “i really do look good in black, don’t i?”
yuta laughed in return. “mhm, you do. i don’t think i could imagine you in another unit’s color, actually?”
“you say that. i’ll make sure to ask anzu-chan to model my personalised outfit off of 2wink, see how well i fit in with you and hinata-kun then.” he found himself chuckling at yuta’s somewhat horrified expression. “i’m sure the fans would love it too. they miss us performing with you lot, you know.”
“they do, i don’t think you becoming a part of 2wink is the solution to that though? tsukinaga-senpai’s the one they want, apparently. 3wink, whatever that’s supposed to be.” he imagined izumi would have some choice words to say about leo leaving knights for 2wink, hours of anger he’d end up funnelling into their shared chat with chiaki. it’d be pretty funny to see leo do all those flips and acrobatics that the twins prided themselves on though.
in the time he’d been laughing at the sheer nonsense that was leo in 2wink, yuta had brought kaoru’s hand down to rest on his knee, his own hand slipping underneath kaoru’s to keep it stable.
he watched as yuta uncapped the bottle of clear nail polish, taking out the brush as he began to apply it to kaoru’s nails. it felt...weirdly cold. kaoru had to actively try not to jostle his movements, though this feeling was foreign to him.
yuta made quick work of covering his nails in the clear liquid, humming one of 2wink’s songs to himself to fill the silence.
“and...that’s the first hand done.” wordlessly, kaoru placed his other hand down onto yuta’s knee. with a smile, yuta repeated the same actions on his other hand. he was so quick with it, making no mistakes even with the slight trembling of kaoru’s hands.
when he’d finished the first coat, yuta put the bottle of nail polish down. taking kaoru’s hands in his own, he lifted the older boy’s hands to his mouth, blowing lightly on the UNDEAD member’s nails. the action in itself was...weird. yuta gave him no warning, doing simply as he pleased. to kaoru, he supposed that was the charm with the twins. they’d become so comfortable with the rest of UNDEAD that they hardly needed to ask for anything anymore.
kaoru didn’t jerk his hands away. he let yuta blow on his nails one by one, before the aoi twin gently dropped his hands back onto his leg.
“are they dry already?”
“yep. they should be, if i’ve done it according to plan.” the pleased smile on the younger boy’s face told kaoru he probably had done it correctly, not a shred of doubt or concern on his features.
yuta picked up the black nail polish, opening it up and taking ahold of one of kaoru’s hands again. he watched as yuta began to apply the black coat to his nails, slight awe at how controlled the younger twin’s movements were. he’d claimed hinata was better at this, but in kaoru’s eyes, yuta was doing an amazing job already.
he’d switched up on the song he was humming, changing to an UNDEAD song instead. kaoru let his eyes close as yuta’s hum of gate of the abyss filled his ears. yuta was quick to finish with kaoru’s first hand, being as careful as he could muster when he switched over to his other hand.
“i’m excited to hear your new song, you know.” he suddenly chimed up, pausing the melody he was humming.
“haha, thanks. we haven’t got it all down yet but koga-kun’s having the time of his life with it.”
“really? hmm...i guess that makes sense. he’s been even more attached to his guitar than usual in club. it feels weird calling oogami-senpai cute...so i’ll say it makes him look kinda cool.”
kaoru laughed at that. “how about you guys? you and hinata-kun are landing variety show roles left and right, aren’t you?”
“you’re saying that like you guys don’t rally around a TV whenever aniki and i are on it.” kaoru opened his mouth to argue, but ultimately shut it. he blamed rei. they’re still my precious children...even if they have outgrown me for that viper - he found it silly...but still found himself sat around the seisou dorm tv with the rest of UNDEAD whenever the twins popped up on anything.
“well…you guys are doing well for yourselves. i’m proud of you...don’t go around blasting that to everyone though. i don’t want people to start thinking i’m a sap.”
“yeah yeah. your secret’s safe with me, senpai. i promise~” yuta laughed, his cheeks rather flushed at the sudden compliment. he took it in his stride. he’d also managed to finish painting both of kaoru’s nails, lifting his hands up to his lips to blow them once again. “just one more coat left to go~”
kaoru waited in comfortable silence as they waited for the second layer of nail polish to dry, closing his eyes as yuta started up a tune again.
when he deemed them dry, yuta grabbed the clear nail polish again.
he'd switched to humming honey milk wa okonomi de. kaoru found himself singing along, closing his eyes as he did so. upon opening them, he saw yuta smiling. he continued to sing along to the twin's tune, keeping his voice soft enough that their voices blended together to make a comforting melody.
yuta put the nail polish down, finishing with ease. he blew on his nails again, the both of them settling into a comfortable silence. the younger twin sat back, glancing over kaoru’s nails with a proud gaze.
“all done. do you like it?”
kaoru looked down at his nails. he knew nail-painting was just one of 2wink’s many specialities, but he didn’t expect his nails to look as good as they did now. yuta had done an amazing job, the black polish glimmering underneath the dorm room lighting. his lips fell open into a small ‘o’. he lifted up his hands, bringing them up closer to inspect them with awe.
“holy shit...this is amazing, yuta-kun.”
if a smile could melt butter then it would be the one that broke out on yuta’s face after he said that.
“hehe, i’m glad you like it. i might not be as good as aniki but i did my best~”
he didn’t know what yuta was talking about, putting himself down like that. kaoru thought he’d done great. he didn’t feel right describing himself as pretty...so he settled on cool. his painted black nails made him look cool.
“mhm, i like it a lot. you made them look all professionally done.” he grinned. kaoru could imagine walking into UNDEAD’s next practice with his nails done, the color matching his training kit quite nicely. he supposed rei and koga would probably hit him with what took you so long comments, adonis taking his hand to praise yuta’s skills in the process.
yuta’s smile grew at the praise, though he waved his hand dismissively. “it was nothing, it was nothing.”
“thanks for this, yuta-kun. it’s only right i treat you after doing this for me, right?” he laughed, receiving a curious head tilt from the younger twin. “how about...a movie and pizza?”
yuta gasped. “right now?” kaoru nodded, watching yuta beginning to grin again. “fine, but i’m picking the movie! no romcoms!” yuta was quick to clamber off kaoru’s bed, seating himself in front of their television. with a laugh, kaoru found himself following as he joined yuta.