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sunflower of my heart

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Tomoya had practically given up on finding his soulmate anytime soon.

 

After all, he thought, grimacing at his reflection in the mirror, a sunflower was a pretty common matching tattoo to have. And right over his heart, too? How generic could it get?

 

Though, he supposed, that was his entire life. Simple, generic, ordinary Tomoya; even his soulmate tattoo wasn’t uncommon. Perhaps his soulmate would be the same--or even worse, his soulmate was someone extraordinary, someone he couldn’t possibly keep up with. Unfortunately, these thoughts plagued him quite often. Still, he thought, finally buttoning up his uniform shirt, maybe there was a chance for him. Soulmates are supposed to click, to match together perfectly, to be meant for each other. If that was true, then he shouldn’t have anything to worry about… right?

 

But finding your soulmate (who surely was female...right?) at an all-male idol school was quite the difficult task. Even if, for some reason, his soulmate was another boy at that school… everyone there excelled. Everyone there was a superb idol, whereas Tomoya, though he worked as hard as he could, felt he didn’t measure up to everyone else. (Though his unit members vehemently argued otherwise.)

 

Tomoya sighed, finishing getting dressed and picking up his school bag, saying a quick goodbye to his parents as he grabbed a piece of toast to eat on the road. He knew Hajime would be waiting for him ahead, so he scarfed down the still-warm breakfast as fast as he could, eager to just chat about nothing with his best friend in order to get his mind off of soulmates. 

 

Sure enough, Hajime was waiting in the exact same spot he was every day, brightening up as soon as he saw Tomoya and giving a little wave. “Good morning, Tomoya-kun~” The soft boy beamed, his lavender eyes crinkling at the edges. “Did you sleep well?”

 

Tomoya managed a smile, his best friend’s calming aura soothing him, his worried heart calming down a little. “Well, I had a pretty okay night, I guess. Nothing out of the ordinary, as usual.”

 

“That’s good, then~” As always, the two walked along, chit-chatting about this or that--Ra*bits practice, a new store opening in the shopping district, what the other brought for lunch that day (bread crusts for Hajime, as usual, which is why Tomoya usually packed a little extra in his lunch, since his friend couldn’t live on crusts alone). 

 

Yet, even so, his mind wandered, and so did his eyes--his gaze couldn’t help but glance over to the back of Hajime’s neck, currently covered by his light blue hair, but where Tomoya knew the gentle boy had not only one, but two markings--a crown with its front jewel missing on the left, and a branch of sky flowers bent into half a heart shape on the right. Well, it’s what Hajime deserved, after all; Tomoya just hoped that his best friend’s two soulmates would treat the beautiful boy right, wherever they were. He fondly remembered the time they’d first shared their soulmate markings in middle school, talking endlessly about the type of people that could be their soulmates. Whoever matched with Hajime was lucky indeed… though he’d have a bone to pick with them if they were anyone he didn’t approve of for his best friend.

 

“Tomoya-kun?” 

 

He snapped out of his reverie to find that he’d come to a complete stop in his daydreaming, and Hajime was curiously looking at him from the front gate of Yumenosaki. “Are you feeling okay, Tomoya-kun? You don’t have a fever, do you…?” Hajime stepped forward, hand extended, to feel Tomoya’s forehead, but the latter quickly stepped backwards.

 

“I-I’m fine, Hajime, just caught up in my own thoughts.” He laughed and waved it off, but the tingle of soulmates still lingered in his mind. Though, there was one sure way to get his mind off of it, and it was currently running towards him at full speed.

 

To~mo~kun~!!!” Hinata Aoi barreled towards him, and Tomoya deftly side-stepped to avoid being tackled to the ground, but Hinata managed to catch him anyway, rubbing their cheeks together in a way that was affectionate to Hinata and annoying to Tomoya. “Good mooooooorning~!!!”

 

“Good morning, Hinata-kun,” Tomoya sighed, and resigned himself to the cuddle session as color rose to his cheeks, and he heard Hajime giggle softly from nearby. “Do you really have to do this every morning?” He rolled his eyes, and out of the corner, he saw Yuta give him a sympathetic glance. 

 

“But of course!” Hinata laughed, finally unwrapping his arms, though one arm remained slung over Tomoya’s shoulders. “You’re my precious Tomo-kun~! One of my dearest, closest, friends!” 

 

“Do you do this to all your ‘dearest, closest, friends’?” Tomoya groaned, trying to slip out of Hinata’s grip to no avail. Hajime had spotted Tori at the entrance, and was chatting idly, while Tetora was trying to drag a depressed Midori towards the front door, and a small group of 1-B classmates consisting of Yuta, Tsukasa, Shinobu, and Sora were gathered together, laughing at a joke just made, with Mitsuru zooming around, unwilling to go inside and face the school day full of classes just yet.

 

“Hmmm, I do it with Yuta sometimes, but he’s my most specialest brother! Oh, does that make you my most specialest friend?”

 

“Yuta is your only brother, and also your twin, and I am definitely not your only friend,” Tomoya finally managed to wiggle away, turning his sharp gaze towards the ginger, who was grinning widely, undeterred by Tomoya’s words. “You just do it to annoy me.”

 

“Who’s to say? Aaaaanyway, I think you enjoy it, considering the little blush on your face~” Hinata smirked, poking Tomoya’s cheek, which only made him flush a deeper red. He quickly glanced around again, making sure nobody was staring, and then pinched Hinata’s own cheek, earning a yelp from the latter. 

 

“A-Anyone would blush if they were suddenly hugged like that,” Tomoya muttered, ignoring the fact that this had been their routine for the past few months, and hoping that Hinata didn’t catch the waver in his voice. “Anyway, we need to get to class, or Akiomi-sensei will go off on us again, and it would be your fault, as always.” The others were already heading inside, with Hajime coaxing Mitsuru with promises that he could get bread at the school store if he headed in early. 

 

“Okaaaaay~ By the way, are you free after school? I think some of us were going to go to the arcade!” Hinata finally started to walk, arm slinging his bookbag over his shoulder with an easy smile. 

 

“Oh… no, I have theater club today,” Tomoya sighed, “I haven’t been going for a while, and Hokuto-senpai will finally be there today, so I should probably show up. I’m not really much of a ‘gamer,’ anyway…” 

 

For a split second, Tomoya thought he saw Hinata’s expression change at the mention of Hokuto, but in the next moment his smile was back, as big and sparkling as always, so Tomoya guessed he must have imagined it. “Maaaaaan… but you don’t have to be a gamer to be at the arcade! I think Yuta’s inviting Tsukasa, and I don’t think the rich boy has ever picked up a controller in his life!”

 

While that did earn a snort from Tomoya, he still shook his head. “Sorry, I really should go… I think we’re going to decide on the next performance soon, so I should actually start showing up to the club.”

 

“Oh well,” Hinata sighed dramatically as they entered the building, a small pout on his face. “I’ll miss you, Tomo~kun~” 

 

Tomoya opened his mouth for a slightly-snarky reply, probably something like you’ll find a way to have fun without me, I promise, but the sound of the bell ringing throughout the school made him nearly jump out of his skin, and his feet started sprinting on their own towards the classroom, Hinata close behind, but laughing all the way. 

 




“Oh, Tomoya-kun?”

 

Tomoya looked up from packing his books away in his bag to see Hajime standing by his desk, a worried look on his face. “Hajime? What’s up?”

 

Hajime shifted his weight from one foot to the other, fiddling with his hands. “U-Uhm, I forgot… did we tell Mitsuru-kun that there would be no Ra*bits practice today? I-I know usually we have to drag him there anyway, but... “ Ever-worried, Hajime sighed. “He doesn’t check his phone sometimes, a-and I’d go find him myself, b-but I have Tea Club activities, and I hate to be late--”

 

“Don’t worry, Hajime,” Tomoya managed a soft smile, trying to soothe the anxious boy’s heart. “I’ll go swing by the classroom on my way to the Theater Club.” 

 

“Oh, thank you, Tomoya-kun~!” Hajime quickly threw his arms around his friend and squeezed, but just as quickly let go with a smile on his face. “You’re a real hero… I’ll see you tomorrow, okay~?” 

 

Tomoya nodded, then sighed as Hajime rushed out of the classroom. Hajime’s smile could do dangerous things, and everyone in the school knew it except Hajime himself. Still, Tomoya quickly stuffed the rest of his books into his bag, and rushed over to the 1-B classroom next door, passing Shinobu on the way (who was very obviously desperately trying to be stealthy as he snuck through the hallway, probably to see Midori and Tetora back in Tomoya’s own 1-A classroom). 

 

The classroom was almost empty, and no Mitsuru to be seen; only Tsukasa standing in a proper, almost too-stiff fashion by the door, apparently waiting for Yuta, who was scribbling something quickly in his notebook, possibly the final notes of the day. 

 

“Ah, Mashiro-kun,” Tsukasa greeted him, taking in the blonde’s frazzled look. “Is something wrong?”

 

“No, well, yes, kinda,” Tomoya sighed, trying to calm his racing thoughts. “Do you know where Mitsuru-kun went? I forgot to tell him there was no Ra*bits practice today…”

 

“Well, I don’t think you need to worry about that,” Tsukasa smiled and gestured to the window. “He sped out of here, fast as Lightning, yes, but I see him down on the field now, probably practicing with the Track Club.” 

 

Tomoya let out a relieved breath he didn’t know he was holding, and a quick glance out the window confirmed Tsukasa’s statement--though Mitsuru mostly looked like a brown blur. Thank god there was no practice today, or Tomoya would have to chase after him like he always did… staring at Mitsuru’s back, reaching out a hand to try to grab his shirt collar, purposefully avoiding his eyes from the lavender sprig curled into a half-heart on the back of his friend’s neck, along with a scepter with its jewel missing. It wasn’t his place to be thinking about how two of his closest friends were dancing around each other, two soulmates linked by the tattoos on their necks, with another unknown third soulmate linking them together--

 

“Mashiro-kun?” 

 

Tsukasa’s voice snapped Tomoya out of his reverie, and he quickly shook the thoughts away. “Oh--s-sorry. I was kind of lost in my own mind there…”

 

“What thoughts are plaguing you?” Tsukasa’s formal speech, and caring nature, made the corners of Tomoya’s lips turn up, but the soothing knight couldn’t quite calm Tomoya’s racing mind.

 

“Well…” Tomoya glanced over at Yuta, who was pretending to be very focused on his notes, and let out an exasperated exhale through his nose. “I’ve been kinda thinking about soulmates, lately. I don’t really like this stupid assigned system, with the tattoos. I mean, we read stories all the time about true love linked by fate, or forbidden love between two people who don’t share tattoos, but… my tattoo is pretty generic. I’m sure if I went out into the street for a day I’d find someone that could reasonably claim to be the matching part of my tattoo.”

 

“Hmm…” Tsukasa furrowed his eyebrows in thought. “Out of curiosity, where and what is your Tattoo? Though I understand if it is too personal a matter.”

 

“No, no, it’s fine. It’s just a sunflower on my chest, probably the cheesiest tattoo that could ever appear on my body.”

 

Tsukasa suddenly froze, his eyes widening with a stare that suddenly made Tomoya very nervous. “A--A flower? On your chest?”

 

“Yes…” Tomoya said cautiously, but from the look on Tsukasa’s face, he figured he should probably clarify in order to either confirm or deny the possibility that suddenly hung in the room. “It’s--it’s on my left side, over my heart. Pretty cheesy, huh?”

 

“Oh. Oh!” Tsukasa managed to find his tongue again, and his face reddened. “M-My apologies, I… Well, my soulmate Tattoo is… also a flower on my chest. B-But on the opposite side!” Tsukasa quickly clarified, sending Tomoya through a rollercoaster of emotions in about five seconds. “Though it is very funny. My flower is an alpine snowbell, but in some circles it is also referred to as a blue moonwort. A moon contrasting the sun… if our tattoos were not on the opposite sides, I would have suggested we look into this!”

 

Tomoya laughed… very nervously. “W-Well, there’s no need for that… but it is a funny coincidence.” He felt slightly relieved--not that Tsukasa wasn’t a great guy, but Tomoya didn’t think he could ever see the other… like that. “Still, I guess that just kinda confirms how common a flower on the chest is… but it kind of makes me feel better.” Tsukasa was at the top of the class, a talented idol, and the heir of the prestigious Suou family. If even someone like him had a generic flower on the chest as a tattoo… well, it at least reassured him that he could stand next to someone as lofty as Tsukasa in some way. 

 

“I guess I better get going. I do have theater club… Oh, I heard you guys were going to the arcade today. I hope you have fun!” Tsukasa managed a smile to both Tsukasa and Yuta, though the latter looked like he had just seen a ghost. Tomoya wanted to ask if he was okay, but one glance at the clock on the wall informed him that he had no time. Tsukasa would probably help Yuta, anyway.

 

“Thank you, Mashiro-kun. I sincerely hope your club activities go well.” Tsukasa waved as Tomoya quickly hurried out of the room down the hall, oblivious to the fact that the conversation he had just had would change everything.

 




Tomoya peeked in through the door of the theater club, bracing himself for his loud-mouthed senior to pop down from the ceiling tiles with the newest annoyance, but was met only with silence. Slowly, he opened the door fully, revealing only his senpai Hokuto, who stood with his back to the door, seemingly lost in thought enough that he didn’t notice Tomoya enter the room.

 

Tomoya couldn’t help but smile. Hokuto was someone who he cherished dearly, someone who always helped him, had his back, and protected him from horror (mainly the horror of a certain Wataru Hibiki). Some of his worries melted away as he approached Hokuto, and his senior turned as he grew closer.

 

“Oh, hello Tomoya,” Hokuto gave a short greeting, still apparently distracted. “I’m sorry, I was just thinking about what our next play should be.”

“No worries, Hokuto-senpai! Just let me know if I can help!” Cheerfully, Tomoya was much brighter without someone trying to force him in a crazy outfit all the time, and he set about organizing stray props that were scattered across the room. “What were you thinking about for the play?”

 

“I’m not sure. We haven’t done a romance in a while, though. Perhaps something on the subversion of soulmates? Though it’s hard to tell if we should perform an existing play, or write a new script…”

 

Tomoya visibly deflated. Of course he couldn’t escape the thoughts of soulmates. But he had to put on a brave face and help out… if only for Hokuto. “R… right… what were you thinking?”

 

Hokuto, surprisingly dense, did not notice his junior’s sudden reluctance. “An existing play would certainly be easier. Perhaps something by Oscar Wilde? Though Shakespeare is a safe option, we have already done many of his plays…”

 

Tomoya let Hokuto’s musings fade into background noise, as he mulled over his thoughts. He’d asked Hokuto about soulmates many times, and the senior had taught him quite a bit--how the markings can be parts of a complete picture or simply matching, how they can be platonic or romantic, how some people defy their assignments… there were countless plays and stories about the pure romance, and about the subversion of “assigned romance” as well. Personally, Tomoya would find the whole thing pretty romantic… if he knew who his damn soulmate was, and if his tattoo wouldn’t possibly match up with hundreds of people. There were only so many places on the body that a marking could appear, and only so many designs, and even if it seemed as if there were infinite combinations, the encounter with Tsukasa had proven to him that his tattoo was as common as anything…

 

“Tomoya?”

 

Tomoya snapped out of his thoughts, and turned to see Hokuto staring at him, obviously having just asked a question, only to receive no answer because Tomoya was off in dreamland. He felt his face redden in embarrassment, and he plopped down on the couch with a sigh. “Sorry, Hokuto-senpai… what did you say?”

 

“Tomoya… are you alright? You seem to be bothered by something.” He noticed about five minutes late. Tomoya sighed and glanced to the side as Hokuto carefully sat down next to him.

 

“I dunno… I’ve been thinking about soulmates a lot recently. I know I’m still young, but I’m… frustrated. A flower on the chest can be pretty romantic, I guess, but it’s also so common. It’s the subject of a lot of romance books, it’s been in paintings and books and plays and movies and everything, and everyone I tell about this just thinks it’s romantic or cool, but I’m just frustrated! What if I meet someone with a similar marking and they’re not actually my soulmate?! Hell, I learned today that someone in my grade has a similar tattoo! How the hell am I going to find someone like this?!” 

 

Before he’d known it, a rant had spilled out of his mouth, and Tomoya became even more embarrassed when he realized how much he’d just vented to his senior. But Hokuto didn’t seem surprised, or even fazed. He sat there in thought for a second, then nodded and smiled slightly.

 

“Well, I had the same concerns myself, actually.”

 

“You did?”

 

“Yes. Well, mine is not so much generic as it is… well. You can see for yourself.”

 

Hokuto held out his arm, and for the first time, Tomoya noticed a small marking on his wrist. It was so thin and light, it could barely be seen… and it was only three little lines, connected at an angle that formed a point with a line attached, or maybe a triangle opened up. His eyebrows furrowed in confusion, and Hokuto let out a soft chuckle.

 

“I know. I was confused for many years myself. I thought that it was meaningless, maybe even just an odd birthmark and I didn’t actually have a soulmate. But what I learned with soulmates… is that it’s only when you’re together, that you see the full picture.”

 

Hokuto carefully and meticulously drew a star outline with his finger, tracing three lines across his tattoo. “When I met the rest of Trickstar, we discovered that our markings were very similar. When you put them together… they form a star. That’s how we are all connected. We want to reach out towards the stars, we want to become stars, together.” He smiled, softly, a fondness in his eyes that only appeared when he was talking about his partners. “It won’t make sense now, but it will. When you meet that person, everything will click.”

 

Tomoya stared in wonder, the three little lines suddenly having become a beautiful picture in his mind’s eye. Something so small, so confusing, was part of a wonderful whole that held so much meaning. Maybe, just maybe, a “simple” sunflower was part of something as amazing as the connection between four stars.

 

“Thank you, Hokuto-senpai… it means a lot.” Tomoya smiled, finally relaxed. “A sunflower is very beautiful, after all. I’m sure whoever it connects to will show me its truest meaning.”

 

Hokuto nodded, then glanced around. “It seems as if buchou is not coming today… or is hiding somewhere. Would you like to help me decide on a play in the meanwhile? We can go to the library to look at scripts.”

 

Tomoya readily stood up from the couch, brushing off his pants. “Sounds good to me. Thank you again, Hokuto-senpai… I’ll do my best for you.”

 

As Hokuto set off for the library, and Tomoya trailed behind, his thoughts wandered off again. Maybe his “generic” tattoo could hold more meaning than he realized. Maybe he had more in store than he expected. And maybe, just maybe, his soulmate would complete the beautiful picture of his life that maybe would be more than just “normal” after all.







Tomoya slept a little easier that night, reassured by Hokuto’s talk, and walked into the classroom the next morning with a slight spring in his step. Surprisingly, Hinata was already there, humming a 2wink song while scribbling something in his notebook, though he stopped and looked up with a silly grin when Tomoya entered. 

 

“Tomokun~!” Hinata sang, and Tomoya let out a soft sigh as he slid into his seat next to his friend. “Good morning! You look pretty cheerful this morning~ It suits you!”

 

For some reason, Tomoya’s face flushed, and he cursed the blood in his body for rushing to his face over a compliment as simple as that. “Not anymore,” he grumbled, though he couldn’t deny that his heart was still light.

 

“Aww, come on!” Hinata scooted his desk over, extremely close enough that Tomoya could swear the ginger could feel the heat radiating off of his face. “I’m your closest friend, Tomokun~!”

 

“That’s Hajime,” Tomoya mumbled, though conveniently his childhood friend had gone to talk to Mitsuru before class, leaving him and Hinata alone in the classroom. 

 

“But To~mo~kuuuun~!” Hinata whined, and he was now close enough to place his head on Tomoya’s shoulder and look up at him with pleading eyes. “You looooooove me! We’re destined to be together!”

 

Tomoya’s face went beet red, and as he heard footsteps over the sound of his heart beating a mile a minute, he pushed Hinata away (the other whining loudly) just as the other classmates started to file into the classroom. Hinata quickly straightened up as the teacher walked in, though not without shooting Tomoya a smirk. 

 

“Tomoya-kun? Your face is really red, are you okay?” Hajime’s hand was suddenly on Tomoya’s forehead, and he jumped and brushed him off, then quickly trying to play it cool.

 

“I-I’m fine Hajime! No worries, it just… must be the heat?” A very bad lie, as it was starting to turn into autumn weather. Hajime looked puzzled, but since the teacher was clearing his throat, there was no time for further questions and everyone hurriedly slid into their seats. 

 

“As you all know, the first-year class is going on a trip to tour some of the famous idol scenes in Tokyo. This will be a weekend trip, so pack well. All the students will be staying in one room as well, as this will be a bonding exercise. Your classmates will be your coworkers in the idol industry, but also your friends. This is an essential time to get to know those around you, as you will be working together for years to come.”

 

The teacher’s speech droned on, and Tomoya tried to ignore Hinata very obviously sneaking glances at him by his side. His mind drifted off, as he started to wonder whether he was truly fit to stand among the others in the classroom. Sure, they were all first years, and all idols, but all of them were amazingly talented already. They were all destined to become incredible idols… though he remembered one thing that Hajime told him, over and over again.

 

You’re amazing, Tomoya-kun. You’re determined, and hard-working. You can become anything you want to be.

 

It was funny, he could almost hear Hajime’s voice… until he realized that his best friend was, in fact, standing and speaking to the class right next to him.

 

“...and, uhm, I guess lavender is my favorite scent~.” Polite claps resounded through the classroom, though Tomoya was distracted by Hinata sliding a note over to his desk.

 

Self-introductions and a fun fact as an icebreaker before the field trip. Thank me later~ It’s not like you to be so spacey!

 

Along with many hearts, dotted around the note. Tomoya’s face burned again, but he managed to try and keep his composure and stand up, deliberately not glancing at Hinata.

 

“Uhm, my name is Tomoya Mashiro… and I guess… I’m really good with animals, so I help out with the animal pens a lot.” More polite claps as he ducked his head in embarrassment, sitting back down in his seat and staring at the top of his desk as Hinata jumped up next to him.

 

“Alright~ I’m Hinata Aoi, I’m the leader of 2wink, and my brother actually reminded me yesterday of this little fun fact! If you rearrange the characters in my name, it reads ‘sunflower!’ Pretty cool, huh?” 

 

And as the rest of the class clapped, Tomoya’s stomach dropped to his knees and his blood ran cold.

 

Sunflower?

 

Suddenly the thoughts of soulmates came rushing back, and the skin on his chest burned where his own sunflower was. How Hinata was seemingly drawn to him, how they always ended up paired together in group assignments, how Hinata was able to make him blush in a way nobody else could, how they always seemed to be next to each other… how Hinata was staring at him now, boring holes into his skin.

 

It had to be a coincidence. Right? His soulmate was supposed to be a girl. And even if it was a boy, surely it couldn’t have been Hinata Aoi of all people?

 

“...Tomokun. Tomokun? Tomoya!”

 

Hinata’s hissed whisper snapped Tomoya out of it, and he could barely bring himself to look over at his… friend.

 

“Tomokun, are you okay? You seem really out of it. Are you actually sick?” Hinata wore an expression of concern that tore at Tomoya’s heart more than it should have. The emerald eyes that normally held a twinkle of mischief were only filled with worry, the light hair swooped across his face that was tilted to the side in an inquiring manner… Tomoya had to tear his eyes away.

 

“I-I’m fine,” he mumbled, focusing intently on the wooden grain of his desk. “I’m fine.” I have to be.

 

He was not looking forward to the overnight trip this weekend.

 




As he and his classmates filed into the large room filled with tatami mats, some classmates scrambled to grab their futons out of the closet, while Tomoya hung back, still troubled by the incident from the past week. Ever since, he’d been avoiding Hinata, and it showed--Hinata seemed to sense that something was wrong, and had been distant; yet, Tomoya constantly felt his eyes boring into him, in a half-pleading, half-confused way. Still, Tomoya couldn’t bring himself to talk to him. His mind and heart were in turmoil, as he struggled with himself. Was it truly Hinata who was his soulmate? Was the sunflower on his heart pointing to one of his closest friends? Or was his mind just jumping to conclusions, and Hinata’s tattoo was completely somewhere else? 

 

Tomoya almost considered going up to Yuta to ask where Hinata’s tattoo was, but that might have been too weird. Besides, the latter had been acting pretty cagey lately--Tomoya had caught Yuta staring, brows furrowed, at him or Hinata several times in the past couple of days. Perhaps Hinata had talked to Yuta about Tomoya’s “issues,” as it seemed as if Yuta’s brain was working pretty hard. Still, though Yuta was also a good friend, he’d never shown such intense interest in working out what was going on--while also not being approachable at all and simply watching from the sidelines. 

 

Speaking of Yuta, Tomoya’s foggy thoughts cleared long enough to see the younger twin dragging Tsukasa out of the room, and he had just enough curiosity to wonder where they were going, but soon his attention turned to the futons. There were only a few left, and Tomoya pondered briefly on why the teachers had decided to rent an extremely large room packed full of teenagers instead of spreading them out, but as it was just for plot purposes, he brushed it aside and grabbed a futon, looking around for where Hajime was sleeping--if he could catch a few words with his best friend, talk it out a little more, maybe his thoughts would be in order. (They’d taken different routes to meet up for the field trip, so Tomoya hadn’t had the chance to talk Hajime’s ear off on their morning walk.)

 

Unfortunately, Hajime was currently occupied, sitting on a futon between Mitsuru and Tori, and the three of them were talking excitedly, Hajime gushing about the behind-the-scenes idol industry that they’d toured today, while Tori seemed to be concerned about the quality of the futons and Mitsuru fidgeted with one of his many stim toys. Tomoya hovered for a second, sighed, and just went to an empty spot, setting his futon near the end of one of the rows. As he prepared to get settled down for the night, he heard an unmistakable loud whine from the current bane of his existence.

 

“Yuuuutaaaaaaaaa!! How could you!!!” Hinata was currently clinging onto his younger twin, who had reappeared and looked quite bemused currently, while Tsukasa stood nearby trying not to laugh.

 

“I’m sorry, aniki, I just chose a spot next to Kasa-kun without thinking. You’ll survive for one night. Look, there’s a spot next to Tomoya-kun, right? You can go over there.” Tomoya’s head snapped up as Yuta mentioned his name and stared in disbelief. Yuta’s eyes caught his glance, and there was a spark of something in the ginger’s gaze--mischief?--but the other turned his attention back to his twin. “You’ll be fine, aniki. I’m right here with you.”

 

Tomoya deliberately avoided looking at Hinata, glancing down and pretending he didn’t hear the exchange. Moments later, he heard footsteps, and he finally wasn’t able to avoid looking up at Hinata as the other set his futon down beside him, an uneasy smile plastered over the other’s face.

 

“Hi, Tomokun,” Hinata said cautiously, obviously still unsure how Tomoya would react, considering the two had been dancing around each other the past couple of days.

 

“Hi,” Tomoya replied, about to say something else, but closed his mouth. What would he even say? What could he even say? ‘Hey, by the way, where’s your soulmate tattoo? Because I have a sunflower on my chest, and since your name can mean sunflower, I think you might be my soulmate.’ How do you even do that?

 

Instead, Tomoya decided to slip into his futon, taking an early night. Maybe his thoughts would calm down in his sleep (though he doubted it, as last night was mostly filled with staring at the ceiling, trying not to imagine Hinata, Hinata’s face, Hinata’s smile, Hinata’s lips, kissing Hinata--)

 

“Goodnight, Tomokun…” The soft voice came next to him, and Tomoya realized he’d been unfair. It wasn’t Hinata’s fault that his thoughts were so scrambled… well, it kind of was, but it still was unfair. 

 

“Goodnight, Hinata-kun.” Tomoya mumbled, trying to give a small smile to the other, but couldn’t find it in him to quite meet his eyes. He felt as if he did, he’d have a heart attack.

 

Still, he thought, the other was sweet to be concerned. He knew he should just talk to Hinata, but it felt impossible. Ever since the classroom his mind had been filled with Hinata, Hinata, Hinata. How there was a light sprinkling of freckles across his nose. How piercing, and light, and wonderful his green eyes were, how they always were so expressive yet seemingly hiding something else. How his smile was so bright, it lit up even the gloomiest of rooms. How everyone seemed to brighten up when Hinata was around. How being held and hugged by Hinata felt like you were safe from everything in the world, like everything would be alright, like being enveloped in the softest, warmest blanket… he could almost feel it, now…

 

Sunflowers filled his mind, and Tomoya dreamed of a hazy summer day, laying in a field, sunflowers peeking at the ends of his vision, towering over him as high as the eye could see. And next to him, Hinata held his hand, his laughter filling the air and lifting up into the joyous blue sky. Tomoya couldn’t help but smile, laughing along, though he didn’t know what they were laughing about. Did it even matter? 

 

Hinata rolled over, and Tomoya turned to face him, and they stared, hazel into emerald, until Tomoya’s heart felt as if it would burst. Warmth surrounded him as Hinata scooched closer, wrapping his arms around Tomoya and pulling him close, where every part of them that touched felt like it was on fire, but a flame that was soft and loving and passionate all at once. And Tomoya sighed, blissfully content, and closed his eyes even in the dream, a dream that he wished would never end.

 

And even as his eyes started to flutter open, and his sleepy mind started to clear, that warmth still enveloped him. He sighed and leaned into the warmth, not fully registering that it should not, in fact, be that warm right now. That is, until he opened his eyes and saw Hinata’s sleeping face, inches from his. 

 

Immediately, Tomoya jumped up, ripping himself away from Hinata’s iron grip, heart beating a mile a minute. Inevitably, Hinata blearily blinked his eyes open, and it only took a few moments for the other to realize what had happened. Tomoya had never seen the other look so embarrassed, as a blush rose to his cheeks to match Tomoya’s own. \

 

“T-Tomokun--I--”

 

But Tomoya didn’t wait. Quietly, trying not to disturb the others, he hurried out of the room into the hallway, heart beating fast and his head spinning. He tried not to linger on how wonderful it felt, how at peace he was, how he desperately had wanted to stay like that for longer--

 

“Tomokun--!”

 

Hinata had followed him. Part of Tomoya wanted to run away, wanted to keep running, wanted to try and escape the inevitable. But what was there to escape from? It was now or never. 

 

Tomoya stopped, turning to face Hinata, who looked like a sad, lost kitten, hair ruffled and cheeks flushed. He was cute, incredibly adorable, and Tomoya fought desperately to not lose his cool.

 

“I--I’m sorry, Tomoya. I guess I must have gotten separation anxiety being away from Yuta, and I--I guess I clung onto you. I know you’re mad at me, or something, so you don’t have to forgive me, I don’t really know what I did, but--”

 

“You didn’t do anything, Hinata.” Tomoya interrupted, finally, finally meeting the other’s eyes. “I just--It’s not you. It’s…”

 

“...It’s? What is it? You can tell me anything, I promise.” Hinata’s arm twitched, as if he wanted to reach out and touch Tomoya, hold his hand, reassure him, but he didn’t. And Tomoya so desperately wanted him to, so desperately that all of his feelings built up and finally exploded.

 

“I mean, it is you, but it’s--it’s also me, I mean--my tattoo. My soulmate tattoo, it’s a sunflower on my chest over my heart, and I thought it was so generic and cheesy, but then you said your name rearranged means sunflower and it suddenly made so much sense and suddenly everything clicked into place and I can’t stop thinking about you, I can barely be around you, I just want to grab you and hold you and kiss you because suddenly everything in my life has clicked and it’s as if you’re meant to be in my life forever and--”

 

And his wish came true.

 

Hinata crashed their lips together, stopping Tomoya’s ramblings, and held his face in between his hands, cradling them as if it was the most precious thing in the world. Tomoya’s mind blanked, and all he could do was melt, melt into the kiss and close his eyes and think about how it was so much better than he had dreamed of.

 

After a brief second, they pulled away, and Hinata smiled. “You should have told me sooner, silly~” He giggled, and tugged down the collar of his shirt. A beautiful whtie flower bloomed on his chest, right over his heart, in the exact place where Tomoya’s marking was. 

 

“It’s a white morning glory… or as some call it, a moonflower.”







“You know,” Yuta mused, controller clicking furiously, “I think I’ve gotten everyone in class together. I got Midori and Shinobu and Tetora together--that’s a funny story--and I worked behind the scenes to get you two together, and of course I got me and Tsukasa together--”

 

“What about Hajime, Mitsuru, and Tori? I’m pretty sure Hajime just figured it out on his own,” Hinata chimed in, only half paying attention to the game and mostly trying to figure out the most comfortable position to lay on the couch while sprawling as much of his body as possible onto Tomoya, who was tolerating it quite well surprisingly.

 

“Well, okay, but that’s because Hajime’s smarter than any of us.”

 

“I beg to differ!” Tsukasa’s voice squeaked, and a bead of sweat appeared on his forehead as he tried desperately to catch up with Yuta in the game. “I believe I’m the top of the class, I’ll have you know.”

 

“He didn’t mean school-smart. Like, street-smart. You may study a bunch, but you sure don’t know much about things like romance or video games, Tsukasa~” Hinata poked Tsukasa with his foot, who yelped indignantly, and then turned to glare at Hinata, who had a cheeky grin plastered across his face.

 

“By the way, I never really heard how you two got together… It just seemed as if one day you were dating and that was it,” Tomoya turned towards Yuta, deliberately ignoring Tsukasa dropping his controller to bicker with Hinata.

 

Yuta snickered, watching as Hinata very easily deflected Tsukasa’s ‘attacks.’ “Well, when I heard that he had moonworts on his right chest, and I realized I had rubrum and stargazer lilies on mine, I kiiiiind of figured things out. Along with realizing you and aniki shared markings of course. So, the next day, I bought a bouquet of stargazer lilies--cause rubrum lilies aren’t sold as often--and I asked Tsukasa to meet me at the back of school. I confessed that I thought we were soulmates, and that I’d been interested in him for a while, and well, the rest is history. I kind of kept it secret before you guys got together though… I didn’t want to spoil the secret.” He smiled, leaning back as his character did a victory pose on screen.

 

“It would have been nice,” Tomoya grumbled, though he wasn’t actually that mad. Yuta and Tsukasa had become two of his best friends after the school trip, and the four of them often went many places together. It even resembled something like a family, the way that they stuck together. It seemed as if everything had fallen into place at last, and Tomoya sighed with content, laughter in the background as the four of them enjoyed the sweet glow of love.