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After growing up with Kei, it really shouldn’t have surprised Tadashi at all that the blond was a huge baby when it came to bugs.

He knows from countless years of watching Kei’s face go blank when presented with cicada shells, of very quiet ‘how childish’-es and a turned back when given a bug net with a beetle inside. He’s noticed how Kei very carefully sidesteps centipedes on the sidewalk, hands wringing like he wants to brush something off of him, and the very very delicate shade of sickly-white he turned that time in junior high when a caterpillar dropped from the tree they were eating under into his lap.

For someone with the characters for ‘firefly’ in his name, Kei is surprisingly intolerant of bugs. Tadashi just didn’t realize how intolerant Kei really was until they moved in together.

The apartment they move into after their freshman year of college is… Well, Tadashi thinks, it could be better. It’s not dirty, per se, but it’s a bit drafty and a bit on the run-down side, and the previous tenants hadn’t left it in the best condition. But it was cheap and near the college and the pertinent train stations, so they deal with it.

Or rather, Yamaguchi deals with a lot of it. The first morning in their apartment, Yamaguchi blearily steps into the tiny kitchen to find Kei standing stock still, spatula in hand. “Mm, Tsukki, whassamatter?” he yawns.

Kei turns slowly and eyes Tadashi. He wordlessly hands off the spatula to the brunet, and mumbles, “I’m going to the convenience store for onigiri. Bye.”

He turns and, without any other explanation, power walks his way out of the apartment. Tadashi blinks in confusion and shrugs, stepping around a large pile of boxes. “Oh for the love of,” he mutters to himself.

There’s a thick line of ants from the tiny kitchen window leading to the place where Hinata had spilled his energy drink earlier the day before. He could have sworn they’d cleaned all of the lurid green sticky drink up, but they must have missed a spot. He trots to the door and opens it, shouting after his boyfriend, “And buy some bug spray for crap’s sake, Tsukki—!!

He starts to work trying to unearth their old can of bug spray from the box labeled ‘kitchen supplies’. He ends up just using bleach on the bugs. Tsukki doesn’t return until much, much later in the afternoon, holding a large bag of full soggy fries and an industrial can of bug spray and looking very sorry for himself indeed.

Tadashi sighs and runs a hand through his sweaty hair and lets Tsukki back into the apartment, despite swearing up and down just moments before his boyfriend really was in really deep shit this time, and that he could not believe that his 190cm boyfriend was a wimp and he would definitely have to sleep outside with the cicadas and just deal with it for leaving him alone to deal with an ant invasion and unpacking.

They do their best to keep the apartment clean, because it is a bit sketchy, and even the nicest apartments can attract bugs if they’re not kept clean. But sometimes, between both of their jobs, classes, and need for sleep, the dishes don’t get done exactly on time.

Tadashi is woken up by a very insistent hand on his shoulder. He rolls over and stares up at Kei, face pinched into a small frown. “Tsukki, day off, sleep,” he mumbles. “What are you even up for?”

“I need you in the kitchen.”

“Are you serious,” Tadashi mumbles. Kei blinks down at him with a stern scowl. Tadashi recognizes the look on his face as the ‘impending freak out by hexapod’ face. He yawns; “What kind is it this time?”

“…roach.”

Tadashi looks up at the ceiling and sighs through his nose. “…There’s Gokijetto under the cabinet… or like… just… use a shoe.” For real. He thought it would be something serious like, he didn’t know, a venomous thing, or one of those gejigeji centipedes that even freak him out.

“It’s still moving,” Kei mutters, looking away from Tadashi. “You go deal with it.”

“… geesh, Tsukki,” Tadashi complains, swinging his legs over the side of the bed. He pads barefoot into the kitchen, where a half-squished, still twitching cockroach is laying on their counter, covered in a thick layer of drying bug-spray. He starts coughing; “Holy shi—How much Gokijetto did you even use!?”

“Not enough,” Kei replies, dutifully turning on the fan that sits on a small cubby bookshelf where they keep their cookbooks and plates.

Tadashi rolls his eyes at the answer, fanning the air over the counter. “Gross,” he complains. grabbing a wad of paper towels. He wipes up the mess and crushes the bug into the paper towels and tosses it into the trashcan as Kei shudders and makes a face.

He starts shifting through the dishes to make sure there aren’t any more roaches hiding in the sink. Once he’s satisfied that there aren’t any, he starts washing dishes without a word.

“You can go back to bed,” Kei offers somewhere behind Tadashi.

“No use,” Tadashi murmurs, “I’m awake now. What were you even doing up?” he repeats. He looks over his shoulder where Kei’s standing with his hands clasped in front of him. The blond is scowling at a point on the wall somewhere behind Tadashi, cheeks pink.

“Breakfast. For you.”

“I see,” Tadashi says slowly. He purses his lips and looks thoughtfully at the discolored spot on the wall that was their last ‘Tsukki cooking breakfast’ fiasco. Bless him, really, but Kei could just not get the handle on western foods. It was beyond him how Kei could make tamago, but not pancakes. He thinks it has something to do with the flipping. In any case, they’ve yet to figure out how to get the grease and smoke stains out of the wall yet. “How about we just go out somewhere?” he asks as Kei steps forward and lays his head against his shoulder. “No mess for us to clean up.”

“That’s fine,” Kei murmurs against the crook of Tadashi’s neck. “Because we’re out of eggs.”

Really, Tsukki!?”

Sometimes, Tadashi is inclined to think that Kei’s reluctance to deal with any insect problems they have is actually cute. Maybe it’s a bit twisted to think that a normally stoic and rather snappish 190cm man is cute when he’s pretty much cowering in fear of a creepy-crawly, but Tadashi really does think Kei’s dependence on him to handle it is rather adorable. And it’s not like Kei doesn’t handle his fair share of unpleasant tasks—he takes out the mouse carcass that their sticky cockroach trap caught while Tadashi retreats into the bathroom in an attempt to not gag. He does the same when the apartment complex’s stray cat brings them several dead birds as a thanks for Tadashi’s perpetual attention. He handles any food that they forget in their fridge until it gains a level of near sentience, dripping and foul and fuzzy all at the same time. So they split the less desirable things fairly evenly.

But sometimes, Tadashi really finds it hard to think that Kei’s even the slightest bit cute. Like the thing with spiders. Kei just does not do spiders.

He does them even less than he does other bugs (Tadashi had once tried to inform Kei that spiders, while arthropods, were not actually ‘bugs’—in that they weren’t actual insects, they were chelicerates. Kei had not taken kindly to the biology lesson while a spider made its way across his desk). Tadashi has Kei trained, after six months, to at least attempt assassination on any insect he finds before getting Tadashi to do it. For the most part, Kei does.

Except when it comes to spiders. Tadashi cannot get Kei to even try to bring even a flyswatter down onto any of the spiders that make their unfortunate homes in their apartment. Tadashi has half a mind to call Kei’s parents or Akiteru to find out just why Kei is such a grade-A wuss about this. The blond just outright refuses. He’ll slink out of the room and find Tadashi and beg him in that quick, flat way of his that Tadashi’s picked up as outright panic, to kill it for him.

It’s not cute. It’s pathetic, if you ask Tadashi. The number of times Kei’s panicked and dubbed a spider as “it’s the size of a plate, okay” are nearing the hundreds and Tadashi’s starting to get irritated at all the not-quite-plate-sized spiders that Kei flips his shit over. (They’re like the size of a yen coin, and that’s being generous.)

His phone goes off mid-shopping trip, cutting off his grocery list with the message.

From: Tsukki
you’re on your way home right?
17:14

From: Tadashi
At the store.
17:15

From: Tsukki
when will you be home?
17:16

From: Tadashi
idk why?
17:20

From: Tsukki
look there is this bigass spider and you need to come home right now
I am going to diehere its blocking the door I can’t leave
come home now
17:21

Tadashi rolls his eyes and ignores the message. He thinks it’s high time that Kei learns to deal with the spiders on his own. Because they need groceries and he is not going to drop everything and go running to save his boyfriend—who is perfectly capable of doing it himself if he grew a pair!—from a freaking house spider.

His phone goes off again a few minutes later, a loud chorus of chimes as Kei sends in a flood of messages. Tadashi irately swipes through them.

From: Tsukki
it’sgodzilla
tadashi please
17:30

From: Tsukki
tadashi really come home
17:30

From: Tsukki
tadashi!!!!
I mean it
17:30

From: Tsukki
IT JUMPS
17:31

Tadashi closes the message screen and sighs. He brings the list back up, does his best at memorizing what they need, and pockets his phone after turning the ringer down low. He can still hear it, muffled in his back pocket as he shops. He’s about halfway done with what he thinks is the entirety of the list—he’s at least got soy sauce, they were out of that—when his phone starts buzzing in his pocket.

He fishes it out, and looks at the ID.

Tsukki!!

He hits the ignore key and stuffs his phone back into his pocket. It starts buzzing again. He doesn’t even bother pulling it out again as he puts a bag of rice into his basket. His voicemail notification pings from his pocket. Tadashi sighs.

He kind of feels bad for ignoring Kei, but Kei’s going to have to get the message on his own this time. He’s coddled and spoiled Kei for far too long with this—they are adults, and he is not his boyfriend’s mother; he’s not going to swoop in and save Kei from everything unpleasant. He’d decided he was going to stop doing that back in high school, and yet, here they are: Yamaguchi Tadashi, boyfriend and personal exterminator for one Tsukishima Kei.

He finishes up his shopping and starts the walk home to their apartment. About two blocks from their complex, Tadashi fishes his phone out of his pocket and dials voicemail, just to see what Kei had to say.

Are you coming home, you should be coming home soon right? The list wasn’t that long. I know it wasn’t. We just needed soy sauce.”

Tadashi sighs, and listens as Kei continues, the speed of his words the only indicator of how freaked out he was. “Because look, at this rate I think we should just… move out. Leave. Give all our things to the spider. We don’t need them. Tadashi, really, you are coming home, right?”

Tadashi rolls his eyes. “What a baby,” he mutters into his voicemail.

He plays the next message.

There’s a rustling noise at the other end of the phone and a huff of breath. “Look, okay, what have I done to deserve this? Whatever it is, I’m sorry and just—I’ll promise I won’t wake you up anymore to kill the little things, just… just come and handle this thing. I’m about to call the police here. Also I think it has eggs. Tadashi,” he pleads. There’s a dull thud. “That was me throwing a cookbook at it. I missed.”

Tadashi wants to throw his hands up in the air and scream. Why was Kei such a goddamn drama queen? It’s not like he didn’t know what he was signing up for when they started dating—oh no, he knew. He knew. That years-long fight with Akiteru and apathetic fugue Kei worked himself up into during junior high and high school? He totally could have dealt with it in like, five minutes if he’d decided to sit and talk with his brother. When they fight, it’s the full works, hands on collars and shaking each other and screaming—but in return, when they make up it’s the same way, with begging and kissing and the full cinematic play-out and soft gentle sex and promises to make it better. Kei breathes drama.

God, Tadashi loves it.

He plods up the stairs, preparing himself for a maybe thumb sized spider and a white-faced, clinging Kei. He imagines himself as a hero in the situation, coming in to save the day. He wiggles his key out of his pocket and one-handedly unlocks the front door. “I’m home!” he calls as he pushes the door open. He starts dropping bags, one by one, into the entry way so he can get his shoes off.

“Thank fuck!” comes the reply from the kitchen. “It’s eating a cockroach, Tadashi—”

“I don’t see how that’s a bad thing,” Tadashi retorts back. Something catches his attention out of the corner of his eye. It’s something very odd indeed.

He stands straight, shoes forgotten. He can see, just barely from the doorway to the kitchen, Kei… sitting on top of the refrigerator.

“Kei what the fuck,” Tadashi shouts. He has half a mind to just turn and walk out of the apartment. The other half of his mind wants to just collapse onto the floor and laugh himself stupid at the sight of his normally oh-so-composed boyfriend half-lying on the fridge (because he’s too tall to sit on it). He thinks he should probably call a therapist to deal with Kei’s obviously serious arachnophobia. “Get down from there!”

“No.”

Tadashi strides into the kitchen, ready to pull Kei kicking and screaming from the fridge like the blond is his child, not his boyfriend. He kind of wants to shake Kei and scream a bit. He takes two steps into the kitchen when he sees the spider in question. “Holy shit!”

It’s actually huge.

Like the size of a dinner plate, for real this time. And it’s not happy that Tadashi’s entered the kitchen. It starts crawling towards him, all long, long legs and large fat body. Tadashi thinks it’s at least twenty, maybe thirty centimeters in total, if he counts those freakishly long legs. It’s also far faster than Tadashi had thought it would be.

He doesn’t think. He takes two long strides forwards and launches himself up onto the counter. “Fucking move,” he hisses at Kei as he hauls himself on top of the fridge.

“Hell no! Shit, kill it,” Kei shoots back as Tadashi presses himself up into his personal space.

“I’m going to try but I don’t want that thing biting me!”

“It’s a huntsman spider: it's not venomous!”

“How the hell do you know?!”

“Google!”

“YOU GOOGLED IT INSTEAD OF TRYING TO KILL IT, TSUKISHIMA KEI YOU ARE SLEEPING OUTSIDE TONIGHT.”

Kei raises his hands in surrender the best he can in the cramped space. The fridge teeters dangerously. “I needed to know if it was going to kill me okay? It dropped from the ceiling, Tadashi, what was I supposed to do.” He sounds like he’s about to cry. “I threw stuff at it; I kept missing because it’s fast. You have better aim okay?”

Tadashi grits his teeth and picks up one of the boxes of cereal that Kei’s not already tossed at the spider. He hopes it doesn’t decide to climb the cabinets. Otherwise they’re fucked.

He throws. It barely hits the spider. It starts scuttling angrily around the floor. Tadashi knocks his head back against the wall. “Kei, I need elbow room, get on the counter.”

You get on the counter.”

“Fine,” Tadashi hisses, slowly lowering himself to the counter. He crouches up against the fridge and starts worming his shoes off. This is going to be tricky.

He throws one shoe just in front of the spider, so it scuttles right into the trajectory of the other shoe. It makes a rather disgusting crunch noise, and Tadashi knows it’s not really dead, but it’s close enough. He tentatively slides onto the floor, and grabs the oldest pan in their dishwasher—one that he’s going to replace after this.

He sneaks forward and brings the pan down hard on the top of his shoe.

Several times, in succession.

He gingerly picks up his converse, and makes a loud disgusted noise. “Okay, okay, get down from the fridge, it’s dead. It’s dead.”

“… Tadashi, they travel in pairs.”

Tadashi looks at the ceiling and decides that maybe, tonight’s a good night to visit Yachi’s apartment.