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Yuuji walked on the streets of Tokyo, the light of the buildings and ads cascading down on him as it did to those who walked alongside him. It was a cool night, free from the humidity and an occasional breeze that came from the ocean shores. A good change and a sign that summer was reaching its end. 

 

On the other hand, Yuuji has found a new beginning. Finally, after so many months of learning how fire works, techniques with a water hose, basic medical treatment, and training with tools, he was going to finish his firefighter training. 

 

This was something he had always wanted, to save people. At first, he didn’t know how. Then, he saw the work that firefighters did one day. Saving people from fire, aiding people with basic care, and rescuing them from things such as a broken elevator. They did many things. Had many ways in saving and helping people. So he decided back then on that day, no longer lost in how to save others, he finally had a path to walk on.

 

There was one thing though, saving others wasn’t just exclusive for when he was on the job. Even when he’s not working, not wearing his uniform and going about his day as a regular citizen, he was still going to help whoever needed it and clearly the large man sleeping or rather, knocked out on the curb of the street was in need of it. 

 

Normally, Yuuji would just think that the poor guy was an overworked businessman in dire need of sleep. However, his forehead was bleeding slightly. Nothing too serious, a little bleeding but still, there were possibilities for brain damage. 

 

He thought back to his training. Yuuji sat on his knee and took his phone out to dial for an ambulance while examining the man before him. He was breathing, that was a good sign. As he dialed and waited for someone to pick up the call, he patted the man on his shoulder trying to wake him up and he watched as the man gradually opened his eyes. 

 

“Are you okay?” Yuuji asked first. “I’m calling for an ambulance, don’t wor-”

 

The large man, previously unconscious, snatched his phone away, hung it up and slurred, “I don’t need an ambulance.”

 

“You clearly do,” Yuuji argued as he took his phone back. He frowned as he watched as the man tried to get up, his legs though toned and buff had become noodles as he stumbled. Yuuji reached out for one of his arms and brought it over his shoulder. “I’ll help you,” he said looking at the face above him. 

 

Yuuji waited for the man to respond, but no words came out of those scarred lips. He simply started walking forward and Yuuji followed, unsure of what to do. Together, they slowly strolled on the streets of Tokyo as Yuuji guessed the man was walking towards his home. 

 

Block after block, their pace slowed down and every so often, Yuuji would take a glance at the scarred man, observing him in case he actually did need to call for an ambulance. After his eleventh time glancing, the man's feet began to drag, no longer walking. Heavy, even for Yuuji, he dropped to the ground and whispered, “No hospital.”

 

Yuuji, just barely holding onto him, dragged him to the front of a building away from the walking strangers and set the scarred man gently onto the ground. Unfortunately, he had no jacket to settle underneath and cushion the man's head. His brows furrowed, unsure of what to do. He reminded Yuuji of his grandpa, stubborn and rarely asking for help. Should he listen to the request or call for an ambulance? 

 

Furthermore, he questioned why the man was so insistent on not going to the hospital. The scarred man should be able to cover the costs of the hospital bills, it wouldn’t have been much. Maybe he was a criminal. It could explain the car, the breath reeking of alcohol, and the injury on his head. Would I even want to help a criminal? 

 

Would he take the chance of bringing the man home, a stranger and possible criminal? Yuuji sighed as his brain began to hurt from excessive thinking. He took his phone out and glared at the glowing screen. To call or not to call? Instead of calling he took note of the time, 23:34. It was a good thing it was a Friday. Yuuji, despite his usual upbeat energy, wouldn't have the brain power to continue had it been any other day besides Friday and the weekdays. 

 

Groaning, he got up leaning his hands on his knees and breathed so as to calm himself. Frowning, he glanced at the scarred man, too heavy, he grimaced, recalling how heavy he was to carry over their long walk. Too tired to carry him again, he called for a taxi instead. 

 

Leaning his shoulder against the wall, he observed the man. A sleeping beauty, he thinks to himself. He was unnecessarily handsome, his lip scar though not a beauty mark was just like one, it added to his charm. He had green eyes too as Yuuji remembered from when he was awake. Not bright, but a dark shade of green that would’ve glowed a beautiful color in light of the sun. Yuuji would like to see it, his eyes shining from the sun instead of the artificial light. 

 

HONK! HONK!

 

Yuuji whips his head to the taxi driver honking at his arrival. He jogs to the driver and opens the door telling him he needs to grab the man sleeping on the floor first. Leaving the door open, he carries the scarred man into the car. Once inside himself, he says, “Thank you for waiting, we can go now.”

___________________

 

He shuffled in the white sheets, groaning as he stretched his arms and legs out. As soon his groan stopped, he grasped the cotton blanket and curled it around himself like a cocoon. Toji laid awake on the bed, his eyes still shut, breathing slowly. He wasn’t thinking much. The bed, the blanket, the sheets, and the pillow. They were all soft, an experience he would only get after a night out with a pretty woman. He wasn’t sure if he’d spent the night with one. Toji could no longer remember as tried to recall the day before. 

 

Toji spent the night out at some random bar, he wasn’t looking forward to sleeping with anyone in particular. Maybe they were simply too pretty and his drunk self decided to spend a night with them. Taking the blanket and holding it close to his face he thinks, they spelled good too.  

 

However, he didn’t remember drinking a lot, but the aching pain on his forehead was what told him he may have had too much. Toji unclasps his hand from the blanket to massage his temple, but he never does. Instead, he felt a bandage as soon as he touched it. He had an injury. Somehow, he got too shitfaced and managed to start a fight. Although it could have also been that the lady who owned this bed was so pretty, she garnered the attention of others and they tried to start a fight with Toji. It wouldn’t have been the first time it happened. 

 

Finally opening his eyes and looking at the room he was in, he finds that he is not in the bed of women, but instead a man. Sweaters hung on the wall and sneakers were neatly laid out on a shoe rack. A poster of Jennifer Lawrence can be seen hanging on the wall and underneath that poster, a frame of a picture, a young man with a wide smile and pink hair. Next to him stood an old grump, his lips in a deep frown contrasting the cute pink head. 

 

Cute? Toji cuts himself off from his thinking. The pink head certainly was cute he admitted to himself, attractive too. Maybe he slept with a guy? It wouldn’t be the first time, but it was a rare occurrence. 

 

Toji sighs as he turns away from the pink head within the picture. He sits up groaning while shutting his eyes at the stabbing pain on his forehead. Once he was satisfied massaging his temples, he looked down, his head too heavy to hold up. He was still wearing his clothes from yesterday night. 

 

The norm would be that he was in someone else's bed, he’d be naked and his body filled with hickeys, except this time it didn’t happen. The clothes he wore from yesterday still clung onto him. This was an even rarer occurrence than sleeping with a man. Waking up in the bed of some stranger, naked with his clothes intact, getting a bed and a roof over his head by not having sex. Typically, he had to sleep with someone to manage that. He looked over to the pink head again, his mouth frowning. He was actually cute, it was a shame the two of them didn’t actually get to sleep together. 

 

Toji wanted to see him in person, the pink head with an overly bright smile. Getting up from the bed he walked over to the door and exited out the room. He walked and walked until he came across a ball of spiky pink. It’s him. 

 

The pink head stood in the kitchen, murmuring silently to Lost in Paradise. It appears as though he truly was lost in his own little paradise. Toji smirks and leans on the wall to observe the pink head living in his own little world. As he whispered out the lyrics silently to himself, his hands were clasped onto the egg pan as he swayed his hips side to side along with the beat. 

 

He tiptoed around his small kitchen not taking notice of Toji despite his huge frame. He grabs two plates as the eggs no longer sizzle in the pan. Prepping the plates and bowls with each dish, he places the utensils he used down into the sink, clinking as they fall on top of each other. 

 

The pink head smiled with hands holding onto his waist looking proudly at his work. It was unfortunate Toji didn’t get to sleep with him. Even then, Toji wasn’t even sure if he’d remember him. The pink head, he was someone who Toji would want to remember. To see and ingrain into his brain what the pink head smiling before him would look like face flushed against the bed. 

 

The boy cuts off Toji’s train of thoughts, preventing it from straying any further. He lets out a huff and says, “Alright, I need to try waking him up now.”

 

The pink head looks away from the dishes and takes a few steps before stopping. Glaring at Toji, his face amused, he states, “Oh you’re already awake.”

 

“No gonna say good morning?” Toji smirks, crossing his arms and watching as the pink head flails his hands in the air, stuttering his words. 

 

“I-I’m sorry and good morning,” he says.

 

Toji cocks his head to the side, his lips pressed together in a grin, but then they part. “Morning,” he said in a low voice.

 

The pink head blushed although the shade of pink on his cheeks didn’t match the shade of his hair. “Um…” he contemplates but continues talking. “We can talk about yesterday night while we eat.”

 

Grabbing both plates and excluding the bowls, he carries them to the kotatsu. Toji grabs the remaining dishes and helps set them onto the table. “Thank you,” the pink head states. “I actually never got your name from yesterday, I’m Yuuji, Itadori Yuuji.”

 

Yuuji holds his hand out to shake with Toji’s and he tells him his name as well. Toji sits and listens as Yuuji nods and begins to tell him what happened. Shitfaced and drunk on the curb. An injury on his forehead that neither knew where it came from. However, after some inferring between the two, it was determined, there was no girl or fight, Toji was simply just so drunk he fell and his head hit the floor. Lame, he thinks. 

 

“It was a shame nobody helped you, Toji-san,” Yuuji says, frowning at how none of the strangers walking on the streets did anything. 

 

“It’s fine,” Toji reassures him and then he wonders, “Why did you help? Among all those hundreds of random people walking on the streets, why you?

 

“Because I wanted to. It’s as simple as that,” Yuuji states. “If I see anyone or anything in need of help, I’ll give it to them.”

 

Kind . Way too kind and possibly naive in the mind of Toji who knew many others who would’ve taken advantage of him. Unfortunately for Yuuji, he was one of them. Though this was the first time anyone had taken him under their roof for free. Toji would’ve usually had to work for it. Woo women or men, do odd jobs and many other things. Maybe just this time, for this one in a hundred chance, he would let Yuuji, the one in a hundred not be taken advantage of. Just maybe. 

 

When they were done with their food, Yuuji asked for Toji to sit since he had an injury and was sobering up. He sat on the couch observing Yuuji’s apartment. It was barren. There were no photos to fill up the walls of his house. The only photo that Toji saw of Yuuji’s was the one back in his room. On his living room table stood a small desk with a bunch of books on it. First aid and one titled, Essentials of FireFighting. 

 

So he wants to be a firefighter. Looking up at Yuuji, he thinks back to what Yuuji had said earlier. It’s fitting for someone selfless like him to become a firefighter. Compared to Toji, the thought of helping someone wouldn’t even cross his mind. 

 

“How do you feel?” Yuuji asks, sitting on the couch leaning towards Toji. 

 

Toji scoots back, surprising himself since he had always let those he found attractive near him. “I’m fine,” he says. 

 

“That’s good to hear,” said Yuuji. “I was really worried about you yesterday.”

 

Yuuji reaches his hand to where the bandage was and Toji hitches a breath. He strokes his thumb on Toji’s face and he finds himself sitting stiff. Grabbing his hand and setting it down, Toji tells him, “I’m not someone you should worry about.”

 

He watches as Yuuji opens his eyes and frowns. Yuuji sighs and holds Toji’s hand, a small smile appears on his face and he looks up at Toji, “Too late, I already am, so in the future, please take care of yourself.”

 

Toji didn't say anything after, unless Yuuji asked him something, he kept his mouth shut. He sat on the couch as Yuuji continued to pester him while also taking care of Toji at the same time. Toji found himself smiling at the boy. Yuuji had freaked out when he forgot to offer him some medicine for his headache. It was funny how even after Toji told him not to worry, he still did. 

 

He cradled Toji’s face like a piece of fragile glass and tended to his injury. He took in the smell of Yuuji, a sweet fragrance radiating off of him whenever he leaned close. Toji sat back under Yuuji’s care and although he found the care uncomfortable, Toji let himself enjoy the sweetness. 

___________________

 

Toji left Yuuji’s place after a few hours of talking. He could still remember the sweet peachy smell that radiated off of Yuuji as he leaned forward gently grasping Toji’s head and seeing if he was okay. He remembered how Yuuji’s soft yet calloused hands held onto him like a newborn child, worried as he let Toji go as if he knew that Toji would get into trouble again. 

 

It had already been a week since he left. Physically that is. Mentally and spiritually, they weren’t with his body at all. They were instead still with Yuuji, in the clutches of the soft grey bed sheets that he once snuggled in and in the hands that held him as if he was someone worth caring for. Still, it wasn’t as if he couldn’t find another bed to lay on and another pair of hands to hold him. 

 

It was easy, too easy. He laid on top of the woman, his large hands clasping her breast and sucking the other as he grinded his pelvis against hers. Very few words were uttered except for the same old, more, make me come, and harder! They held hands, their faces both in bliss as dopamine flooded their brains when they finally reached an orgasm. Doing the same thing again and again, until all the condoms were depleted. 

 

The sex was always great. Getting a roof over his head was too. However, that’s all it was, sex and odd jobs. The brief short rush of dopamine from the pleasures of sex, they never lingered for long. It was only a brief moment of happiness, a couple of seconds where everything else in his mind disappeared. Toji wasn’t sure if he’d gotten addicted or dependent on sex. Maybe he did, he wasn't sure. The only thing he was sure about was that he’d always get a bed to sleep on instead of the cold cement in the middle of nowhere. 

 

This time too, it was a rare occurrence. He woke up to an empty bed which was normal. What wasn’t normal was how he wished the woman whose name he didn’t bother to remember stayed to cook for him. For the two of them to have breakfast and chat about their day until it was time to exit out the doors and return to adult life. 

 

Toji tried with the next one. A couple of hours of sex and then he asked them if they’d like to spend breakfast together before she went to work. It was to Toji, uneventful. He laughed and smiled during their talk, but the laughter of the pink head as he recalled lingered in his brain. It wasn’t the same. 

 

Day after day, Toji had finally found himself in front of Yuuji’s doorstep. Why? He didn’t know himself. It was late at night, it’d meant that Yuuji would already be off work. The problem was, is Yuuji asleep? He stood in front of the door, his eyebrows furrowing, not knowing what to do or why he was at Yuuji’s doorstep. 

 

Then, he could hear the sound of footsteps and along with those footsteps, music. Toji after so long smiled to himself, remembering how Yuuji danced to the beat of the song. Subconsciously, his hand reached out for the doorbell and a finger pushed the button. 

 

The music stopped and Yuuji could be heard walking to the door. “Hello, who is it?” he asks through the mic.

 

Putting his hands into his pockets, he says to the mic, “It’s me Toji.” 

 

A small oh could be heard through the mic as Yuuji unlocked the door. Toji keeps a smile on his face as he takes in the sight before him. A strawberry apron, it suits him. The front of Yuuji’s bangs were held up in a little ponytail by a small hair tie. “Why are you here?” he asks. “Did something go wrong and you need help?”

 

Toji thinks before he responds. Originally, the plan was to not take advantage of Yuuji, his one in a hundred. However, as he stands there in front of Toji, his eyes search with worry as to whether or not something bad has happened again. He remembers memories of those soft hands that were now reaching for Toji’s own. The hands that held onto Toji as if he was something precious, someone worthy of being cared for. When those hands of Yuuji finally enveloped Toji’s hand in them, he asked, “Are you okay?”

 

His eyes gape at the question, still not responding to Yuuji and no longer thinking of taking advantage of him. Toji watches as the muscles on Yuuji’s face relax, he smiles soon after and grabs Toji’s back leading him into his home assuring him, “It’s okay, you’ll be okay.”

 

Yuuji guides him, telling him to sit wherever he wants and that dinner would be ready soon. Toji nods, his smirk from earlier no longer on his face. He sat frowning, the thought of taking advantage of Yuuji’s hospitality was out the window as soon as Yuuji started looking after him. Toji looked towards the door wanting to leave and yet, his body sat, glued down onto the floor. He should have left but he didn’t want to. 

 

The food cloaked the apartment with it’s aroma and there was the chef, Yuuji. He did exactly what Toji remembered, smiling and singing. He danced flowing around the kitchen along with the music. The TV in front of him was playing a high school drama. He wanted to flee from this place but his brain kept him grounded, taking in more of what Yuuji’s home had to offer. 

 

He sat relaxing his back against the couch. Closing his eyes, the rest of his senses took in what it could from this home. As he listened to the rumbling of soup boiling, smelled the grilled fish permeating the ear, and rested his head against the soft couch, Toji fell asleep.

___________________

 

Toji turned wrapping the soft cotton around himself as the heavy weight of his slumber tried to lull him to sleep again. Another comfortable bed and a quiet home. It was another, but this time, Toji thinks it’d be okay if he stayed. Yuuji, he thinks, was far too kind to kick him out. He looked over to the other side of the bed, however, Yuuji wasn’t next to him. Possibly, he might’ve woken up already or maybe, he gave the bed away to Toji.

 

Getting out of the bed, he headed towards the living room where he could hear a TV playing. Toji stopped as he saw Yuuji taking up all the room on the couch. Laying on it, he sipped on his hot drink as it steamed into his face. Toji shrugged and sat on the floor leaning against the couch. His voice still groggy from sleeping he says with a deep voice, “Morning kiddo.”

 

Yuuji breaks his focus from the TV and whatever show he was watching. “Oops,” he quietly says and sits up on the couch instead, making room for Toji. “Sorry, you can sit now.”

 

“It’s fine, I’m okay with sitting on the floor,” Toji responds, although he gets up to sit on the couch anyway. He looked at Yuuji whose eyes were burrowing into Toji to the point it was unsettling, yet he didn't look away either. “What is it?”

 

The muscles surrounding his eyes relaxed no longer tense and then he sank into the armrest of the couch. His entire body now facing Toji, Yuuji asks quietly, “Are you okay now?”

 

“Yeah, I’m okay,” he responds, Toji’s voice void of any emotion. He continues watching Yuuji, noticing how he makes a face towards his answer. Instead of replying, Yuuji nods and moves himself to face the television, mentioning that he ordered food.

 

The two sit in silence as they both wait for food. Yuuji's eyes never strayed away from the TV and Toji gazed at nothing, his mind somewhere else. It was too uncomfortable, sitting down in Yuuji’s home. Yes, they knew each other, but still, they knew nothing about each other. Yuuji would know nothing about Toji while Toji would only know two things about Yuuji, his address and that he was going to be a firefighter soon. 

 

Not once has he stayed this long with someone he barely knew. He was supposed to be gone by now. Wandering off into the streets of Japan, doing anything else, but sitting down and watching a high school romance drama. He was always on the move and now, he was sitting down doing nothing and Toji wasn’t sure as to whether or not he liked it. 

 

It was unnatural and against everything Toji has done the past ten years. Even more unnatural was that he liked it. Sitting down in a warm home and waiting for food. Toji even found himself somewhat excited at the thought of sharing another meal with Yuuji. Yuuji didn’t tell him to leave yet. Although he doesn’t know it, letting Toji stay prevented him from wandering aimlessly throughout the streets in the morning. Oddly enough, Toji also found himself rejoicing in having a place to rest. However, he’d have to leave eventually, the thought of freeloading off of Yuuji left a bitter taste in his mouth. 

 

Snapping out of his thoughts, he watches as Yuuji walks to the door and pays for their food. “It’s here!” Yuuji exclaims, walking back to the living room and holding up their food for Toji to see.

 

He moves off the couch and onto the floor, Yuuji at the same time setting their food down. “Let’s eat,” he says. 

 

Taking the chopsticks out of its paper wrap, Toji snaps it in half while listening to Yuuji’s squealing about how good the food looks. For a couple of minutes, the two sit comfortably eating in silence, but then Yuuji breaks it, he asks, “So what do you do?”

 

Toji didn’t exactly know how to respond. Pick up chicks and do odd jobs for a living was now sounding pathetic as he thought about how he lived his life. He frowned and only said, “I just do odd jobs for a living.”

 

Yuuji hummed, his yakisoba noodles hanging between his chopsticks. “Odd jobs must be difficult,” he stated. 

 

Toji half smiled. It was a little funny, how he stared at Toji as if wanting to ask more questions about him. He didn’t know it, but Toji didn’t mind sharing other information about himself to Yuuji. “It is difficult, too many different things to do and the money too, I never know if the employers are gonna be shit and cheap out on me.”

 

He continues telling Yuuji more about himself, words spelling out of his mouth too quickly for his brain to stop and examine if they were things he’d want to share. He was born in a rich family although they were all trash, they treated him as one too. He was to them the worst of the bunch. Soon he left, no longer wanting to be treated as garbage, he stepped into a world unknown to him. 

 

Despite being treated like trash, when he lived with his family they still supplied him with their wealth. However, when he left he no longer had the money tied to his family. Fighting in a ring for people to bet their money on was one of the first jobs. Then, he was paid to beat others up in the streets. The money wasn't enough though, he needed to do other things too. 

 

Things weren’t going well, it never did, sometimes he’d barely have enough money to afford some of the cheapest hotels. As a result, he headed off towards the bar instead, looking for a person who he could sleep with for the nights he couldn’t afford a hotel. That’s how his life has been like for the past ten years. 

 

He stares blankly at his food once he finishes. His eyes snap up to Yuuji when he states, “Kind of sucks.”

 

Toji didn’t know what kind of face he made towards Yuuji's statement as the boy quickly stammers out an apology, but Toji thinks he shouldn’t apologize. He wasn’t wrong. The past ten years to be exact, he didn’t hate, he even enjoyed some parts of it. Fighting against people and making money off of it was enjoyable, but over the years it did start to suck. 

 

He left his family because he was treated like garbage, but in the end, he was living a trashy life. He left because he wanted to be free and happy. Yes, he is free. Free from his family’s hateful gaze, but now he was chained by his current way of life and it never made him happy enough.

 

Before he could fall further into a pit, Yuuji tells him, “let’s do something.”

 

“Like what?” he uttered, glancing at Yuuji. 

 

“I was actually planning to go to a rock climbing class, it’d be great if you could come along,” he says, his eyes beaming at Yuuji. Toji shrugged and smiled while listening as Yuuji continued, “I don’t know if it’s your first time, but it’s mine and I’d like to spend it with someone. Maybe it could be you? That’s if you’re interested.”

 

He looked hopeful, a little lonely too as he questioned Toji. He smirks saying, “I’ve never been rock climbing. I have all the time in the world, so I'll go.”

 

Yuuji gasps and then chuckles quickly after. “That’s great!” he said. “We can go once our stomachs settle from all the food.”

___________________

 

They enter the gym in awe of how high some of the climbing walls were. Toji continues to stare watching as couples, friends, and families climb the walls next to each other. Yuuji takes his hand and guides him to one of the employees holding a clipboard. He stares at their hands linked together barely registering what Yuuji is talking about with the employee. 

 

When Yuuji’s done talking to them, he finds himself being dragged by Yuuji again to some place different. Lagging behind, he wonders if Yuuji is aware and holding his hand on purpose. Toji didn’t mind at all and even held some hope that he was doing it purposely. Clutching Yuuji’s hand more tightly, he catches up to Yuuji, watching as the pink head glances up at him and blushes before quickly turning away. 

 

Toji smiles seeing the pink flush on his face once again, however, he frowns as Yuuji unclasps their hands from each other. He points down at the climbing shoes on the rack saying, “these are for us.” Reaching out to pick one his size he wears them and follows Yuuji to their minilocker. 

 

Joining in with the rest of the class, they ready everyone up and the teachers explain to the group some of their safety tips and guidelines before they could continue. They listened as the mentors explained what a belayer does and how they help a climber. As they were done with explaining, each pair wore a harness and picked who would be the belayer and the climber. 

 

Picking who was doing what, Toji and Yuuji did as they were instructed. Toji works on tying his side of the rope, but he stops once he notices Yuuji struggling. Pausing, Toji steps in to help him as the teachers continue helping the others. He holds back a smirk when he hears Yuuji small gasp at their closeness. Helping him tie the knot he looks up at Yuuji, a flush of pink spread out across his face and ears. No longer able to hold back a smile, he looks at Yuuji when he murmurs a thank you. 

 

“You’re welcome,” he sang with a smug smile and continued back to tying a stopper knot. They waited together as each mentor went to check up the pairings to see if they were good to go. Once the two of them got their thumbs up, Yuuji started climbing. 

 

Toji observed as Yuuji quickly scaled the wall, impressed but not surprised considering Yuuji once mentioned he’d always been athletic. He watches Yuuji slowly descend the wall, thoughts formulating in his mind as he notices the tightening of certain muscles. He imagines himself between those legs, Yuuji’s ass against his pelvis and his face flushed. 

 

“Toji,” Yuuji calls out, “Toji are you okay?”

 

Toji snaps out of his perverse thoughts and glances at Yuuji now infront of him, his hand holding his shoulder. It was the same look as before, one with worry and Yuuji asked again this time more softly, “Are you okay, Toji?”

 

He shifted, not used to having someone care for him. Toji also couldn’t let Yuuji know he was thinking dirty thoughts about him. Although with Yuuji in front of him, he did have to wonder how pink Yuuji’s face would turn if he did confess I'm fine, I was just thinking about your ass on my dick . However, he doesn’t when he notices Yuuji’s worried face. Toji couldn’t help letting a bubbling sense of warmth take over his body. He flops his hand down onto Yuuji’s head ruffling it and tells him, “I’m fine, thanks for worrying though. Anyways, my turn?”

 

Yuuji nods underneath his hand and sets it back to Toji’s side. They both change some of their gear and the knots for the rope with Yuuji now being the belayer and Toji the climber. 

 

This time it was Toji’s turn to ascend the wall and he did it with surprising ease. He was athletic like Yuuji, although Toji still expected it to be more challenging. Maybe it was because they were on a beginners course. Once he reaches the top, he can hear from down below, “You did great Toji!”

 

He smirks at the compliment and as he gets closer and closer to the floor. He spots once again, a shade of pink painted on Yuuji’s face, although he was perplexed since he couldn’t understand why. All Yuuji did was watch and act as the belayer for Toji. There was no reason for the kid to be a blushing mess, unless Yuuji was doing the same as him. 

 

Out of all the previous times Yuuji had blushed because of Toji, he decides to call out this one. “Your face is looking a little pink, are you okay?” Toji asks, reaching a hand out for Yuuji’s forehead. 

 

“What?!” Yuuji blurted, taking Toji’s hand off his forehead and attempting to cover his face. “No, no, I’m fine.”

 

“Hum, I’m not so sure about that Yuuji,” Toji teases. “Your forehead felt really hot just now.”

 

“I’m fine, I swear,” Yuuji assures, taking a step back away from Toji. 

 

Before he could step too far away from him, Toji grasps his hand and pulls him closer, “I think we both know you’re lying, so I’ll ask you this time, why are you blushing Yuuji?”

 

He watches as the pink flush takes over Yuuji’s face completely, smirking at his affect on him. Toji waits patiently watching as Yuuji’s lip trembles when he attempts to speak, “It’s just-well the shirt and shorts that I gave you, they’re too small for you.”

 

Looks like he’s quite the pervert. Toji smirk expands even wider on his face and he asks, “You like what you see?”

 

Toji sees the way Yuuji’s eyes expand and he bursts out laughing, not caring about the thoughts of those around them. “Toji!” Yuuji says through his teeth. 

 

“I’m just teasing, sorry,” he says, pinching Yuuji’s cheek as he was pouting. He looks back up at the wall and says, “I’ll climb again so you can enjoy the view.”

 

“Toji,” Yuuji wines, “Please, stop.”

 

Toji chuckles as he walks back to the wall and makes an attempt to climb the wall again. 

 

They spend a majority of the day there. Climbing and teasing each other, well, Toji at least. As they finish and walk back home they get takeout from Denny’s. Once they are home, they sit in the living room eating their hamburgers and fries, Toji asks, “What about you?”

 

“What do you mean?” Yuuji asks curiously.

 

“I mean your family, your life story, why you want to be a firefighter.”

 

Yuuji stops eating and sits in silence. Toji sits, waiting for Yuuji to be ready to tell him anything. “Well,” he starts, “I grew up barely remembering my parents, I was raised by my grandpa. It was just me and him.”

 

Toji watches as Yuuji’s face brightens and falls as he explains in detail, deep and heavy parts about his life and Toji simply listens asking Yuuji for clarification from time to time. He notices how Yuuji's tone falls no longer upbeat. His grandpa passed away, he tells Toji. A small smile appears on his face, but the corner of his lips twitch. 

 

He shifts, unsure of how to console Yuuji. Toji watches, waiting for tears to stream down Yuuji’s cheeks but they never do and Yuuji maintains that small smile. He tells Toji of how he was lost in doing as his grandfather told him, save people. He saved as many as could, whether it was a cat on a tree, a child who was lost, or a woman who had her purse snatched. It took him a long time, but he finally decided to become a firefighter. 

 

Toji nods, slightly proud of how he got to where he is now. Now talking about the TV show, he drowns out Yuuji’s words. Toji couldn’t help becoming slightly envious of how Yuuji is doing okay in life. Contrasting him, Yuuji was lost with no one and still managed to find his way. 

 

“Toji, are you okay,” Yuuji asks. He looks down feeling warmth on top of his hand, finding Yuuji’s hand placed on his. Toji moves his hand without thinking and cards his fingers through Yuuji’s. “You keep moping like that, you know?”

 

“It’s fine, really,” Toji stated. Despite saying so, it really wasn’t. It was a lie to both himself and Yuuji. He thought about chasing happiness again and Toji thought of the random people who would have sex with. They were enough. Looking outside the balcony, he noticed the sky had turned dark. “It’s getting late, I should go.”

 

Taking the trash they created from the take out, Toji gets up getting ready to leave but he feels a tug on his arm. He turns around and Yuuji takes his free hand holding onto it, “You can stay if you want, my place is open for you.”

 

Toji’s lips form into straight light as his hand lay loose in between the smaller pair of hands. Not once does Yuuji take his eyes away from Toji and he finds himself wanting to be under the attention of Yuuji even longer. Tightening his grip on Yuuji’s hand, he thinks it's rare not having to work for a bed. Even rarer was that he enjoyed being with Yuuji. Throughout his entire time with Yuuji, he found that his entire day never had a grey moment. Not many people liked him and he too, didn’t like many people. Sighing he combs back his hair and lets his bangs fall onto his forehead. Thumbing his finger on Yuuji’s hand he responds, “I’ll stay.”

 

He spends the night and the following day with Yuuji. Though on Sunday, they didn't do anything specific, instead they chose to stay in Yuuji’s house. It was odd for Toji. He was not used to spending time like this with someone else, especially after so many years. They talked, they snacked on food, they watched TV series, and sometimes they just sat in silence. 

 

It was awkward at times. Not because of Yuuji, he made things easy for Toji. He would talk and Toji could follow along with the conversation. Even in the silence, if Toji glanced at Yuuji, the boy would smile back and return to whatever he was doing. 

 

It was awkward because Toji never had much to say or share about himself. As Yuuji talked about his manga on the shelf and shared it with Toji, or as he showed him some of his favorite TV series. He listened to what Yuuji had to share and enjoyed asking him questions. However, in their moment of silence, Toji’s mind thought about how he didn’t have anything to share about himself. 

 

As the clock ticked by, the moon rose over the night sky and Monday was approaching. He slept on the couch not wanting to take over Yuuji’s bed and the lameness of his life clouded his mind. He shut his eyes many times in an attempt to sleep, but he grew madder and madder as the thoughts of his life persisted. The tick-tock of the clock was not helping and prolonged the night. Toji shifted and curled his blanket around himself. He shuffled his pillow around and the chaos in his mind stopped when he heard footsteps approaching. 

 

He raises his head and sees a shadowed finger lingering in the distance, the light from the kitchen turns on and Yuuji stares at Toji. “You’re awake,” he says. “Sorry, if I woke you up. I’m just trying to get some water.”

 

“It’s fine, I just couldn’t sleep,” he groans.

 

Taking a cup of water, Yuuji sips it and walks towards Toji offering him some. He takes a sip and hands it back over. “Would my bed be more comfortable for you?” Yuuji asks. 

 

“Don’t worry, I’ll just sleep on the couch.”

 

Looking at the time, Yuuji sighs after he finishes drinking the water. He sets it on the table and takes Toji’s hand. “Come on,” he said, pulling him away from the couch. 

 

Toji not getting any say in the matter follows after Yuuji. Once in front of the bed, Yuuji gets in and scoots over to the other side patting the empty spot. Toji reluctantly gets in and lays stiff beside Yuuji. 

 

He still could not fall asleep. Toji kept his eyes open, letting them adjust to the darkness in the room. It was strange, laying down next to Yuuji. It left him perplexed as he’s never shared a bed with someone without having sex with them first. He feels Yuuji shift beside him and he looks over. 

 

“Still can’t sleep?” he asks. 

 

“No,” Toji replies.

 

“Maybe this will help,'' Yuuji whispers. 

 

He feels Yuuji’s arm reach over attempting to turn Toji towards him. The bed dips as Yuuji scoots closer and he brings Toji’s head below his chin, hugging Toji. Slowly, Yuuji starts combing through his hair and Toji relaxes against his chest. Without the sound of the clock, Toji listens to Yuuji’s breathing and through the soothing touch of Yuuji’s hand, he finally falls asleep. 

___________________

 

Toji wakes up content with the amount of sleep he’d got. The usual tiredness not chaining him to a bed. He looks over at the spot next to him and frowns as it turns up empty. He must be gone for training. 

 

Stretching his arms out, Toji gets up from the bed and heads toward the bathroom. As he uses the toothbrush Yuuji had lent him, he wonders to the sound of his brush swishing against his teeth. The past three days had all been wonderful. Toji closed his eyes imagining himself being held by Yuuji again, soaking in his gentle touch. He frowns when he opens his eyes and there is nothing. It was just himself standing in front of a mirror. He yearned for more, but he wasn’t sure if could.

 

Yuuji would’ve done it for anyone, that’s how he was. To save, help, and comfort those who needed it. Yuuji told him he would do those things for anyone and Toji experienced it first hand. His brow twitched at thought. Toji wasn’t special. He was just another individual out there in this world who Yuuji wanted to save… 

 

Upon further thought, Toji wasn’t someone who needed saving or help. There was nothing to save him from, so why was Yuuji letting him stay? Toji did fine on his own and he could handle himself. Wiping the water off his face with a cloth, he walked out of the bathroom entering the kitchen. On the counter he found a plate of food, a note was left beside it saying, “You can stay if you want, if you’re going to leave, please lock the door.”

 

He takes the plate and puts it into the microwave. When it finally dings, Toji takes it out and begins eating, unused to the silence that he lived with for the past ten years. The three days he spent with Yuuji already had a profound effect on him. Pushing away the wishes of having someone to eat with and chat to, he continues munching on the remaining chunk of onigiri. 

 

When he finally finishes, he lingers by the door in silence letting the warmth of Yuuji’s home surround him one last time. Sighing, he turns the door knob and he leaves. 

___________________

 

After his training ended, Yuujil left the building and walked to a grocery store. A basket hanging on his arm, he walks around the grocery smiling as he goes through each item, picking the best from the bunch. Grounded pork for meatballs, green onions, mushroom, and thin slices of beef. He smiled looking over the ingredients, thinking of how he was going to make sukiyaki for Toji and him to eat today. 

 

Aside from the sukiyaki, he had to think about the rest of the days. He had to buy a little more than usual because he was cooking for two this time and Toji ate a lot. At the cash register, Yuuji shrugged at the price that appeared on the cash register. It was a bit much, but he needed to feed both him and Toji. 

 

Walking back to his apartment, the breeze occasionally wisped past him. Summer was ending and just as it was, he met Toji. It was a little scary at first, realizing that he did pick up a criminal from the streets. Hearing of how he fought in fighting rings—illegal fighting rings. Toji never specified, but Yuuji could infer based off of how he was hired from individuals who were doing the betting. 

 

As Toji talked about himself, Yuuji found that he didn’t mind his participation in it. Just like himself, alone in the world with barely anyone to go to, Toji did what was easiest for him, make money off of his strength and skill. 

 

In their talks with each other, Yuuji found himself opening up to Toji as easily as he did with Nobara. Chatting about completely random things, the ant on the floor, their hair, or who looked hot as they walked past the coffee shop. It was endless and just as it was for them, it was the same for him and Toji.

 

Placing the bags on the floor, Yuuji unlocks the door and enters his home. “Hello, Toji, are you here? I’m home,” he says, leaving the bags of groceries in the kitchen. The living room appears to empty and the toilet as well, he notices. Walking towards his room, he opens the door looking forward to seeing Toji napping or merely laying down, but he finds an empty bed. 

 

His shoulders drop, realizing he came back to an empty home. Yuuji remembers as he takes out the groceries onto the counter, organizing the ones he was going to use and putting away the ones he wasn’t into the fridge. Toji was an adult and just like one, he had to work too. There was a chance he was just going to work for another one of his odd jobs. 

 

Chopping the vegetables slowly, he worries over the thoughts of Toji doing anything illegal. Yuuji found himself wishing for Toji to do something else before he gets caught in any illegal activity, but he wasn’t Toji’s mom. Yuuji couldn’t just tell him to stop. 

 

Looking over at the ceramic pot containing sukiyaki, Yuuji looks over at the time, 22:17. It was late and Toji still wasn’t home. It was stupid of him to have not ask for Toji’s number. Otherwise, Yuuji wouldn’t be eating through the contents of the pot at a snail’s pace while he waited for Toji. He huffed out a breath of air and sat up putting away the food that was meant for two. 

 

Lying in his bed that was now empty without the heat from Toji, Yuuji hopes that he didn’t run off to a bar in hopes of finding a girl to share a bed with. Even if Toji didn’t and used the money he earned to buy a day at the hotel, Yuuji wanted Toji to know that his home was always open. 

 

Weeks had gone by without seeing Toji and Yuuji had returned to his usual lifestyle, the exception being that he finally got his job as a firefighter. He was thankful, they only had to deal with some of the smaller things, no big disasters to save people from meaning many were safe. Although just because there was fortunately nothing big, he and his team still had to deal with the smaller things too. A couple of medical services here and there, safety inspections, or rescuing people who had gotten themselves into danger. 

 

At the end of the day when he walked home, Yuuji would think over the things he did. People he and his team saved would be safe and a small smile would accompany him on his walk home. He’d often visit his grandpa, telling stories of all the things he’s accomplished on the job and he would ask the grey stone, “are you proud?”

 

As days turned to weeks, he would start to find Toji at his apartment door waiting.  The first time, Yuuji shot up to him asking how he’d been and if he was taking care of himself. No injuries were visible. No bloody knuckles, no bloody noses, and no bruised chests. 

 

Yuuji still blushes as he thinks about it, forcing Toji to lift up his shirt in case he was hiding anything from Yuuji. Toji would tease him everytime he did so. Even though he never showed up with bruises, Yuuji made sure to buy an ice pack and ointments should anything ever happen. 

 

Toji never stayed for long, but for the days that he did and the times that he slept over, Yuuji made sure to spend his spare time with Toji. Taking him to places such as the rock climbing gym they went to previously, batting cages, and even some of the more artsy stuff such as Yuuji’s ceramic classes. Yuuji stuck by his side as they did such activities.

 

Even without those days of going out and doing something, they’d sometimes just spend it home. During those days, they’d just talk and even if they didn’t, they would lay down on opposite ends of the couch, legs tangled in each other. It wasn’t much, but for Yuuji who only had Nobara and a few others, friends he didn’t see everyday, Toji who was enough to fill those empty days. 

 

Yuuji spent his time enjoying everything. Toji’s smile and his laughter. The way he would scratch his scar whenever he thought about something. How Toji would grip him into a headlock or ruffle his hair and Yuuji could only ever pout back at him. 

 

However, he never stayed for long. He was always on the move and much to Yuuji’s disgust, he began to wonder whenever he gazed at the crinkling smile of Toji. The scar beside his lip, a beauty mark, but actually a scar, was a charming trait about Toji. Yuuji’s eye would narrow wondering if the girls that spent the night with him kissed it during their heated moments of sex. 

 

It always left him uncomfortable with himself, his repulsion at the thoughts of Toji sleeping around with women. They couldn’t even be called friends. Roommates? Toji never stayed long enough to be considered one. Technically, they were only acquaintances. 

 

They were nothing and as the months passed he would watch Toji leave to run off somewhere. When he came home to a shoeless genkan, Yuuji would look at his couch and wish Toji was there greeting him with his cocked smile, patting the empty space on the couch and telling him to sit down. When Yuuji laid in bed hugging Toji, Yuuji went to sleep with a clouded mind. 

 

Yuuji found something else to wish for. A wish that wasn’t based on the words of others such as his grandpa, but of his own. He wanted more with Toji, but he could only continue watching, his mouth zipped tight as he watched Toji leave and feel the apartment grow cold. 

___________________

 

Since he left on Sunday, Toji had been staying at Yuuji’s on and off. He returned to his usual lifestyle quickly: odd jobs, hotels, and women. There was always something new about each of them. Fighting people who had varied knowledge in fighting, hotels which showed different levels of hospitality, and women who all fucked and moaned differently. Each one carried something for him to muse about before, during, and after. 

 

However, they were all fleeting moments. Nothing that could ever keep him entertained for too long. Always leaving and never staying, he would muse over them and as soon as they were gone, Toji was by himself again. 

 

He’d go back to Yuuji who was always ready to embrace Toji as he smiled the moment he saw Toji. It was awkward at first. His only physical contacts ever being through punching others from fights or through sex. At times those touches left him feeling good whenever the dopamine flooded his brain. However, they were never as warm as Yuuji, one left him in pain and the other only gave him a few seconds of euphoria. 

 

Toji during the days he spent with Yuuji was always right by his side, taking whatever he could from the small ray of sunshine. Spending days doing things such as rock climbing or sitting around in Yuuji’s home. At first, his hand would always linger somewhere on Yuuji. Patting his head or pinching his cheeks whenever Toji teased him too much. Toji found himself reaching for Yuuji’s hand during their time together, holding it in his own hand. 

 

As Yuuji lulled him to sleep, Toji would try to fight it off. Each time, Yuuji left a spot left for Toji, he would open the sheets inviting him in. It was funny, he always scooted over to make space and yet Yuuji always scooted closer to hug Toji. 

 

“You’re claiming too much of the bed you greedy little brat,” he joked, but in the end, Toji would pull him closer anyway. 

 

That’s how it was, his life with Yuuji. However, he never stayed for long. He didn’t know why at first. He worked days on end, barely ever taking a break. One of his employers even once told him, “You’re taking up more jobs than usual.”

 

He just grumbled back, “I just felt like making more money.”

 

However, from that little conversation, Toji realized it was more than just money as thoughts of Yuuji spelled into his head. Spending days with him, Toji no longer had to search for the next bed to sleep in. They would hug each other in bed and even out of it too. He’d even do some grocery shopping for Yuuji whenever he was too tired or busy. 

 

When he was in a bar, hotel, or a stranger's bed, Toji would look at the wall,

his gaze unfocused as he dreamed of the two of them. They would stay together cooking, eating, chatting and sleeping together in his dreams. However, when he was at Yuuji's apartment, Toji was no longer dreaming. When he was with Yuuji, his dreams would come true and he’d experience the warmth of his embrace, something that his dreams could never achieve. 

 

Toji dreamed and watched as it became a reality when he was with Yuuji. Yet, at the same time, when he was away from Yuuji and by himself, Toji would relish in his dream, but his body would reel back, snapping him out of it. 

 

Returning back to the reality of his world, he’d go back to his usual lifestyle, contrasting Yuuji who had somewhere to stay and others to go to. Unlike Toji, Yuuji could always return to his home, far away from the world and its inhabitants. It was because he had money and of course, a job, one that he could enjoy. Whatsmore, if he did want a companion, there was that rowdy friend of his and their friend group. They were always ready to clown on each other, but they always gave a helping hand when one of them fell.

 

Compared to him, all Toji had was his current companion and soon to be one night stand. Sometimes he had to go talk to one, other times they came up to him with a second drink in their hand wanting a chat. 

 

He sat at the bar, his eyes a dark shade of green under the dim light. The woman who approached him this time was dressed in a red orange bodycon dress. Her hair hangs loose on the side. There wasn’t much to talk about as they both chose to keep their lives private. It didn’t matter anyway, they were here for something different. 

 

The woman whose name Toji had already forgotten placed her hand on his thigh. He smirked watching as her hand inched up towards his crotch. Holding his breath as her face closed in on him, he pulled her into a kiss. Breaking away from the contact, his eyes dazed, he tells her, “let’s go to your place, yeah?”

 

Smiling back at him, she presses for another kiss and pulls away and with her finger, she wipes off the tint of her lipstick from his lips. “You’re in for a long night,” she whispers through a grin. Getting off her chair, she holds Toji’s hand and waits for him to stand up. 

 

“Show me the way,” he says, offering him his arm to hold onto. 

 

Chuckling, she pulls his arm and starts walking towards the exit. Toji’s eyes are no longer on her, now catching the sight of pink near him. He looks at the owner, Yuuji, and he holds back a breath as he frowns. 

 

“What’s wrong,” she says, but he ignores her question watching as Yuuji stalks up to him, his face empty. Toji pulls his arm out of her grasp and attempts to hide her behind his body. It was pointless though, Toji tsked as she moved to stand beside him. 

 

Standing in front of each other in the gnawing silence, Toji waits for Yuuji. For what? He wasn’t sure. Berate him? Possibly. Yuuji was glaring at him, his eyes condemning in the way a mother would to a child who has done something wrong. Toji shifted under Yuuji’s stare, not daring to look him in the eye. 

 

Breaking the silence, Yuuji heaves a sigh and looks down on the floor. “Another one?” he murmurs, so quiet that Toji could barely hear. Glancing back up to Toji, he continues, “I don’t need to continue repeating myself. I hope you’re seeing her because you genuinely want to.”

 

Toji opens his mouth in an attempt to say something, anything to Yuuji, but he could only watch as Yuuji walks away, his body growing smaller the closer he gets to his friends. Don’t leave or I can explain, any excuse he can think of rushes across his mind but they were pointless now. Yuuji was already gone and he himself was being pulled away.

 

Entering her house, he follows along, his body moving and kissing her as she drags him to her room, relying on his muscle memory from the many years of sleeping around to move his body. Toji feels her hugs, her caresses, her kisses that leave a print of her tinted lips. They were nothing like Yuuji’s. The way Yuuji held and touched Toji with his hands too. Nothing about it was similar. Then there were her kisses. It was something that Toji had yet to experience with Yuuji and might never will, because now, he realizes how much of a coward he is. 

 

You can stay if you want, my place is open for you. Those words of Yuuji repeated in Toji’s mind. He was told so many times already by Yuuji, to stay and that his apartment was free for Toji. Free. It always irked him, how was staying in Yuuji’s apartment for free. How he never paid a single ounce of money for his stay. Everyday he spent with Yuuji, he cooked for Toji dotting on him as they ate together. It was always the same, Yuuji giving and Toji taking. 

 

It was why he always left the apartment, even though deep down, he had always wanted to stay with Yuuji. The unknown sensation boiling within his body whenever Yuuji hugged him during the night. He had it too good when he offered nothing. Toji barely has any money to help Yuuji pay the bills. It was barely enough to help out with the groceries. He had nothing in his life whereas Yuuji had everything, a dream job, a home, and a group of friends. 

 

The two of them lived in two different worlds that shared only one similarity. They were left alone in the world to fend for themselves, however, of the two of them, Yuuji had goals, friends, and so much more. Compared to him, Toji’s world was a static and lifeless place. It was a constant cycle working jobs that never paid enough and sleeping around in a different bed every couple of days. 

 

Once he met Yuuji, his world saw movement within it as an unknown world came crashing into his, causing ripples within his world. It was terrifying. Toji allowed them to clash at first, enjoying and watching as Yuuji became a withering mess around him, but he still offered him a place to stay. Although it started to unsettle him. He wasn’t used to this. 

 

Living with his family, he had a place to live and go back to, but what he came back to was relatives who scowled at him or cowered away in fear. After he left, Toji was always on the move from one hotel or bed to the other. Compared to all the ten years he spent alone and the eighteen years he spent with his family, Yuuji showed him something different. Knocking on the door of Yuuji’s apartment, he could hear the shuffling footsteps and when the door opened, like always, Yuuji looked at him with a wide grin and hugged him. With a beam, he would always say, “Welcome back!”

 

Toji’s world as Yuuji crashed into it became broken and as his norm was disrupted, he tried to settle back into it, running off to his one night stands and working his jobs. However, the damage was already done. Even as tried to settle back into his version of normalcy, the cracks still remained shining light into his world. 

 

The warmth of the light would always call him back to it. Cloaking him in it’s warmth and drawing him back to Yuuji. His previous cycle of working and hooking up had a new addition to it, Yuuji. It was nice that way, he could go back to Yuuji and once he got too comfortable, he could return to his old lifestyle. That was the problem though. It was never going to work because at the end of the day, they were still living in two different worlds. 

 

However, Toji remembers. At one point, they were both similar. Living alone with no one to go to. Toji’s lips trembled as he held onto the one similarity. Yuuji had no one to go to at first, but then he made friends. Toji only made acquaintances, but he also met Yuuji and now, he had him. That’s if he’d still accept though. 

 

Their worlds though different could gain more similarities with one another. Toji thought of getting a job, just one where he could continue working. He thought of making friends and not just acquaintances. If Toji tried and he would, he could bridge the gap between their worlds and make them more similar. No more odd jobs and no more hookups. 

 

“I don’t think this is working out,” the nameless woman interrupts. 

 

Snapping out of it, he looks at her, down on her knees gripping his cock. “You’re right, it won’t,” he grimaces. 

 

She looks up frowning at him. She asks, “What do you mean?”

 

Toji catches her wrist and unwraps her fingers from his cock. Stepping to the side, his cock laying limp, Toji puts his pants back on. “I’m leaving,” he says, not bothering to look back or apologize to her. 

___________________

 

Toji stops, staring at the door wondering if Yuuji had returned. He gazed down at the doorbell, his hand never reaching out to press it. He came back to Yuuji, but he also had to wonder, after their meeting in the bar, would Yuuji even accept him back into his arms. Toji bites his cheek and scratches his scar, still eyeing the doorbell. 

 

Sighing, he stands straight, holding his breath as his finger presses the doorbell. He stands there waiting to hear Yuuji's footsteps. He waits, but the only sounds he does hear are the sounds of crickets chirping and moths bumping into the light bulbs. Not a single step.

 

He looks at the time, 23:40. Toji turns around facing his back onto the floor and he slumps down to the ground. Calling was an option, but Yuuji was probably having a fun time with his friends. Toji sighs once more and trembles in the autumn night. Clutching his knees, Toji rests his head on it, imagining Yuuji’s warmth shielding him from the cold, he falls asleep. 

___________________

 

“Toji,” he hears to the side of him. 

 

His name, it continues repeating itself and he lets go of his knee, leaning into the warmth. He takes a breath of the night air, its coolness chilling his nostrils, and then it also takes in the smell of peach right after. “Yuuji,” he murmurs.

 

“Yes?” Yuuji says, holding Toji tighter in his arms. “What is it?”

 

Toji begins to open his eyes, his mind still dazed from his sleep and his hand pulled on Yuuji’s shirt as he pulls himself up to look at Yuuji’s face. “It’s really you, you’re finally home.”

 

Yuuji was looking down on him, his face still flushed from drinking out with his friends. What's more, he was smiling. Even after he saw Toji with another woman, Yuuji still held him in his arms as if nothing had happened. Unclawing his hand from Yuuji’s shirt, Toji cups his face in it and Yuuji leans into the touch. 

 

“Yeah, I’m home,” he sighs.

 

Lifting Toji up, he unlocks the door and Toji follows him into the dark, his finger clinging onto Yuuji’s sleeve not sure if he should be allowed to hold his hands. Clicking the light switch on, he looks down at Yuuji, shivering. 

 

“Let’s go to bed and warm up, you’re cold,” said Yuuji, grasping the hand that formerly held onto his shirt. Toji is led into the dark halls and into Yuuji’s room. Closing the door, he stops in the middle of the room and his breath hitches as he watches Yuuji step out of his jeans and removes his jacket leaving only his boxers and shirt on. 

 

Walking to Toji, he smiles but Toji backs away from Yuuji when he reaches his hand out. Yuuji’s smile sinks at first but then it reappears and Yuuji tugs on Toji’s jacket, taking it off of him. Toji tries again not to reel away, not wanting to touch Yuuji with his body after he’d almost slept with someone else. However, he follows him into the bed anyway, his cold body chasing after Yuuji. 

 

Just like every other time, Yuuji pulls him down into his chest and hugs him, combing through his hair. Toji sighs into his chest pulling Yuuji into him as close as possible. Still shivering, his lips tremble, not from the cold but because he asked, “Why? Aren’t you mad with me?”

 

Yuuji stops his hand and pulls Toji’s face up. Even though no light touched the room, they looked at each other in the darkness. Yuuji sinks further into the bed, caressing Toji’s face, he says, “I’m not mad, I’m just—I’m a little disappointed. I mean Toji, I’ve told you so many times already, you can stay. You can always stay here at home with me. So then why do you continue leaving?”

 

Despite the darkness cloaking their faces, Toji looks aways burying his forehead into Yuuji’s chest. He feels Yuuji’s heart beating, thumping against his forehead undisturbed. In contrast, Toji’s pounded and he inhaled and exhaled, nudging his nose in between Yuuji’s breast. 

 

“Toji,” Yuuji asks worriedly. Although Toji buried himself against Yuuji in an attempt to hide himself, his head gets pulled away and this time, Yuuji holds both sides of his face in a vice grip.

 

“Sorry,” Toji croaked, his heart now beating at a thunderous pace. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry—Yuuji—I’m pathetic.”

 

Yuuji sighs and swipes his finger over Toji’s streaming tears. Toji opens his eyes seeing the dark shadow of Yuuji’s shirt, but then he feels a soft touch on his forehead. A kiss. 

Before his lips could linger any longer, Toji pushes Yuuji away yelling, “Don’t! I don’t want you touching me, especially right after I’ve been with someone else!”

 

“It’s okay Toji,” Yuuji reassures him, unclasping Toji’s hands off his shoulder. He does it again, bringing Toji into a hug.

 

“It’s not okay,” Toji argues, his voice muffled against Yuuji’s shirt. “It feels dirty. Makes me feel dirty and it makes me feel like I’m getting you dirty.”

 

Rubbing circles on his back, Yuuji responds, “I don’t care, Toji. I don’t care about that, it’s not important, but what I do care about is you thinking that you’re pathetic because you’re not.”

 

Toji weeps even more against Yuuji’s chest causing his shirt to dampen. He was pathetic, he cried to Yuuji. Running off because he was afraid whenever they got too close. Sleeping around with women because he was at first, unused to the nights spent with Yuuji. Then he continued sleeping around because he was scared for his old life, something that he only knew was slipping away from him as he stayed with Yuuji. 

 

Along with those reasons was the shame of not being worthy enough. Toji wasn’t a good enough friend or roommate to pay for the bills. Neither was he good enough in terms of his personality or his life. He had no goals and only had friends that were in reality, just acquaintances. Spilling out to Yuuji his views of himself, his former ambitions of changing to be better faded away. 

 

“Don’t you see Yuuji?” he whispers. “I’m not good enough for you.”

 

“You don’t know that,” Yuuji counters. “You are enough and if anything, I want more from you, but you keep leaving.”

 

Toji stills hearing Yuuji say that he’s good enough. However, doubt fills his brain murmuring and it murmurs into his ears you’re not worthy. Before Yuuji could continue Toji shouts, “That’s because I-”

 

“Stop it, Toji,” Yuuji says firmly, preventing him from speaking further. “I want to spend more time with you. To hug you like we are doing now and even kiss too. I want to continue waking up next to you. I want to come home to you and have us talk about our day.”

 

Toji wants to continue arguing with Yuuji, wanting to prove that he is wrong, that his wants were nothing but mere fantasies. Yet, he stops himself, keeping his lips zipped as he lets himself fantasize to Yuuji’s own wants.

 

He continues listening to Yuuji talk. “We can go shopping for groceries together and it doesn’t matter if you don’t pay for it. Just being able to spend time with you in the grocery store, strolling in the aisles and arguing with each other over what we should eat, that alone is able to make my world a brighter place. Don’t you see Toji? I like you.”

 

Toji’s former rapid beating heart stops and blood rushes to his ears. Gripping Yuuji’s wrist, he takes in a shaky breath as the words I like you repeat in his head. As the rush of blood slows down, Toji thinks about their shared dreams of spending time with each other, doing more than what they were doing previously. Yuuji likes him enough to want their dreams to become true and Toji too, he likes Yuuji. 

 

Taking one of Yuuji’s hands, he lifts it up to press a light kiss on it. Reaching his hand out towards Yuuji’s face, he palms a wet cheek. “I like you too, Yuuji,” he sobbed. 

 

Yuuji chuckles and Toji’s tense muscles relax into the mattress. “I like you too, Toji.”

 

The weight of their room dissipates and they lay in the dark, silence falling onto the pair. Sighing, Toji leans on his elbow hovering over Yuuji for what felt like hours but was in reality, only a few seconds. Stepping over his fears, he requests, “Can I kiss you?”

 

Yuuji sniffles and then he laughs light heartedly. Holding Toji’s face, even though they couldn’t see through the dark, they both know the other is smiling. Yuuji’s finger caresses Toji’s face and he swipes away a tear. Combing Toji’s bangs back, Yuuji pulled him in, brushing his lips against Toji’s forehead. Soon after, Yuuji moves to wrap his arm around Toji, his voice hoarse from crying earlier, he whispers, “I’ve been waiting too long for this.” 

 

Toji huffs and he starts shedding tears, letting Yuuji pull him down, they kiss. Pressing their lips against each other, crying and gasping for air, Toji tastes the salt of his tears as his tongues intertwine with Yuuji. He finds that in the kiss, his past feelings such as fear and hate dissipate, they become void no longer existing inside of him. Maybe that’s why his lips, tongue, and body all sink down onto Yuuji not once parting, especially after so long. 

 

They’ve both waited too long and the sky of Toji’s world, it finally shattered. It no longer remained cracked, only letting in remnants of the sun's light into its world. Instead, the grey clouds parted from each other, making way for each beam of light to shine into Toji’s world until no cloud remained. 

 

Toji cried into Yuuji’s mouth even more, gasping for air as Yuuji didn’t dare let him get away. He pulled him in again and again, whispering for more and telling Toji, “I like you.”

 

He chuckles at some point when their open kisses turn to pecks on the corners of their lip. “We should go to sleep, you know?” teased Toji.

 

“I don’t ever want this to end,” Yuuji says, kissing him, letting his lips linger on Toji’s scar.

 

His lips pressed into a straight line, Toji puffs and moves, pulling Yuuji into a hug. Kissing his neck first, he moves his mouth near Yuuji’s ear and he says, “This won’t end. I’m here with you now and I’ll be with you tomorrow and the day after. So long as you let me, I’ll stay with you forever.”

 

Yuuji snuggles into Toji’s shoulder and pulls him in closer, hugging him tight. “I like you,” he murmurs. 

 

Toji smiles, telling Yuuji that he likes him as well. Before they let their sleep take them, the two both give each other one last night's kiss. They continue hugging, circling their hands on each other's back as the warmth of the other lull them into a deep sleep. 

___________________

 

Toji wakes up to an empty bed although he’s not worried. The first thing he notices as the morning grog leaves is the smell of Yuuji’s cooking. He smiles as he sits up taking in a deep breath of the aroma coming from the kitchen. Toji strolls through the hall after brushing his teeth and into the kitchen.

 

Leaning on the wall, he watches as Yuuji zips around the kitchen, bouncing to each of his steps. Yuuji twirls with a bowl every time he leaves to get something and sings the lyrics to a love song. Toji almost wants to laugh, but he keeps his mouth shut not wanting to ruin the moment. 

 

Eventually, he leaves his spot. As Yuuji’s about to turn again, Toji takes the bowl from Yuuji’s hand and sets it on the counter. Taking his hand, Toji twirls Yuuji under his arm. Grabbing his waist, he pulls Yuuji in close, swaying them to the music. Toji places a kiss on his forehead. “Good morning,” he says. 

 

Yuuji gasps at first and then he chuckles. Standing on his toes, he pulls Toji down into a kiss. Once they part, Toji smirks, taking in the sight of Yuuji’s pink face. 

 

“Good morning to you too, Toji,” Yuuji says, taking his eyes off of him. Toji ruffles his hair and reaches out for the bowl from earlier. Both look at the empty bowl and Yuuji continues talking, “Breakfast is ready, can you wash the dishes while I prep the dishes?”

 

As they both finish their job, they sit at the table though neither of the two make a move to eat it. Toji leans on his palm watching Yuuji beam with a smile on his face. “Not going to eat?” he questions Yuuji. 

 

“Oh, I am! I’m just— I—” Yuuji stutters, picking up the chopsticks. Toji reaches out to Yuuji’s free hand and he waits. Yuuji looks at him, still struggling to finish a sentence and then he weaves their fingers into each other. Sinking into his chair he looks at Toji with a small smile appearing on his face. “I’m just really happy that’s all.”

 

Toji's eyes open wide and he pulls Yuuji’s hand to his mouth leaving a kiss on his knuckles. “I am too, Yuuji.”

 

Toji smirks, grinning with a smug smile as Yuuji pulls his hand back, he suggests for them to eat their food before it gets cold. Toji nods his head, but he eats his food at a slow pace compared to Yuuji who devours the food. He watches and listens, relaxing into his chair, his attention not on the food but on Yuuji. Toji notices the way Yuuji’s eyes would crinkle over a topic he was excited about or the way his eyebrows would squinch together if he wasn’t too happy about something. He took them in, ingraining them into his mind. 

 

He jolts, however, when Yuuji asks, his face is no longer happy or frustrated, but worried, “Toji, what’s wrong? You’ve barely eaten your food.”

 

Toji smiles, choosing to tease Yuuji. “I’m just thinking about the taste of your lips, sorry.”

 

He watches again as the rose tinted flush spreads towards Yuuji’s ears. “Don’t say things like that,” Yuuji scowls.

 

Toji lifts his head, howling and then he looks back down at Yuuji shaking his head but smiling at the same time. Taking his spoon, Toji scoops the steaming miso soup and drinks it. Yuuji continues talking and Toji reminds himself as he revels from the warmth of the soup, he has all the time in the world to discover unique things about Yuuji, afterall, he won’t leave anymore, not when he has Yuuji.