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and i hear my heart's echo

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Youichi’s having a shitty fucking day.

The half-finished essay due tomorrow staring back at him feels like it’s laughing in his face, the word count displayed making a mockery of the time he’s spent working on it. He groans, rubbing a hand over his face. He’s less annoyed about how long it’s taking him to finish this assignment than about how it’s causing him to miss Seidou’s practice game today. He couldn’t really have avoided it, when he’s gone to all the other ones even when he definitely didn’t have the time, but still. It’s annoying.

Maybe it’s also got something to do with a certain second baseman who’s still on the team. Really, he knows how teams work and he’s learned to get used to new teammates, but he does find himself missing how easy it was to play with Haruichi.

He needs a break. He stretches his arms over his head after standing up and grabs his phone from the desk before making his way to the kitchen and caving in to coffee’s call. For all he tells him off for it, he’s starting to get why Miyuki is always having too much of it.

He should text Haruichi to see if he wants to hang out, he thinks as he forgoes the sugar and grimaces at the bitter taste of the beverage. It’s still early in the year so he’s sure they all have a lot on their hands with the new first-years, but it should be feasible. It’s still weird to think Haruichi’s a third-year now. It’s weirder to think Sawamura and Furuya also are third-years. He can’t believe they’ll be out in the world soon. There’s simply not enough coffee around for this kind of thinking.

The ringing of his phone draws him out of his mind, and he grabs it to find Miyuki’s contact picture on the screen.

“Hey,” he says. “What’s up? Did you forget something?”

Miyuki went to the library just a little while earlier—to work on an assignment, same as him. It feels like most of their time is spent on assignments these days. There’s something kind of sad about that, but maybe it was just inevitable. Youichi feels old, suddenly.

“No, I’m good, I’m on the way back.” There’s a tension in his voice that has Youichi frowning a little. “So, hey. Eijun called me.”

“Game’s over already?” Youichi’s gaze lands on the clock up on the kitchen wall. “That was fast, even for a practice game.”

“No, they probably picked it back up by now, he just called me when they had to take a break.” He pauses for a second to let a loud car pass him by, judging from the noise, and Youichi drinks some more of his coffee. “Okay, don’t freak out on me. Haruichi got hurt-”

Whatever Miyuki says afterwards is lost somewhere in the blur between Youichi putting his cup down on the counter and finding himself in the hallway.

“Kuramochi!” That makes him snap out of it. “Put your fucking keys down and listen to me—I told you I was on my way, what were you going to do? Get to the hospital yourself?” Youichi looks down at his hands to find he did, in fact, grab his keys at some point. He’s not sure what the plan was. Miyuki must’ve heard them clinking together, he always complains that there’s too many of them and they’re so loud. “He’ll be fine, I told you, it’s probably nothing serious. Eijun said something about a catch at an awkward angle and that Haruichi said something didn’t feel right, so they went to get it checked out.”

Youichi breathes.

“At least someone on this fucking team is smart enough not to lie about an injury,” he grumbles.

Miyuki lets out a short laugh. “Yeah. He’ll be fine. Eijun went with him, he said he’d let us know as soon as he hears more about it.”

“Alright. Thanks, man.”

“Sure. Want me to grab anything while I’m out?”

“Nah,” Youichi slips his keys back in the pocket of the jacket he’d grabbed them from, hanging on a coat-hanger in the hallway. “I’m good.”

“Alright. See you in a bit.”

Youichi goes back to the kitchen after hanging up, taking a look at his now-tepid cup of coffee before pouring what’s left of it down the sink, and grabbing his phone again.

Youichi: heard you got hurt. you okay?

Miyuki comes back soon after that, when Youichi’s taken to scrubbing the kitchen sink clean—not that it was dirty by any standard, but cleaning clears his head and he needs something to do, and there’s no way in hell he’s going to manage focusing on his essay until he hears back from Haruichi. He’s made his peace with that. Miyuki could poke fun at him for it, but Youichi’s got enough ammunition to fight back, so he won’t. That’s how their friendship goes.

“Leave this poor sink alone,” Miyuki says from the kitchen doorway, after Youichi hears his bag land on the floor. “You’re going to wear it down to nothing, and I don’t feel like dealing with replacing it.”

Youichi looks back in time to catch him waving as he goes out towards the living room. Seconds pass before the sound of the TV being turned on rings out, and Youichi sighs. He hates admitting when Miyuki’s got a point, but sometimes it can’t be helped. So he washes his hands, slips his phone in his pocket after checking that he hasn’t missed any messages (he hasn’t), and heads to the living room to climb over the back of the couch and sit down, leaning against Miyuki’s shoulder. He knows there’s no point in trying to pretend he isn’t worried, so he doesn’t bother. Besides, if anyone knows not to make light of arm injuries, it’s Miyuki. 

Neither of them says anything for a while, both just watching whatever random program was on TV when Miyuki turned it on, and Youichi appreciates the quiet show of support. His phone buzzes in his pocket.

Haruichi: Wow, you’re well informed. I was going to call you once the doctor was done with me.

Youichi types a quick response, you can still call me, and it’s just seconds before his phone buzzes again, Haruichi’s contact picture displayed on the screen. He pushes himself up as he answers, hand on Miyuki’s shoulder as leverage. 

“Hey.”

“Hi,” Haruichi says, and Youichi breathes a little easier at how normal his voice sounds. “I really am curious, you know. Did Eijun tell you?”

He smiles. “Kind of, I guess. He told Miyuki, who told me.”

He pushes his bedroom door closed just as Haruichi laughs, and goes to sit at his desk. “Yeah, makes sense. You’ve got a better intel network than I thought.”

“Eh, I like being in the know. Can’t just leave that to you and your brother.” He pauses. “So, how’re you? What did the doctor say?”

Haruichi hums. “I’m fine, it’s nothing too serious. Just a mild elbow sprain. I’ll have to take it slow for a while and not use my elbow too much so I’ll be out for a couple weeks, but it’s not that bad. Hurt like hell at first, though,” he adds with a quiet chuckle, and Youichi bites his lip to keep the I should’ve been there on his tongue from escaping.

It’s not like he could’ve done anything to prevent it anyway, but at least part of him wishes he’d been there for moral support if nothing else. Though, he supposes Haruichi had Sawamura there for that. That’s good at least.

“It’s good you didn’t try to play through it,” he says instead.

“Ha, yeah. If it had been at the end of the game I might’ve tried to, you know? But it was still early, and I thought it would be stupid to risk getting injured enough to miss important games.”

“Well,” Youichi leans back in his chair, “glad someone on the team knows to use their brain, at least.”

Haruichi laughs a little. “Yeah.” He pauses for a second, and Youichi hears Sawamura’s voice in the background. “I should go before Eijun comes here to steal my phone. I think we’re ready to go back, anyway.”

“Alright. Good to know you’re okay, man. Say hi to Sawamura for me.”

“Sure.” There’s the hint of a smile in his voice. “Will do. Tell Miyuki-senpai I said hello. Bye, You-san.”

“Haruichi said it’s nothing serious,” Youichi says after he’s made it back to the living room and all but thrown himself on the couch. “He says hi, by the way.”

Miyuki waves his phone at him. “Yeah, Eijun just texted me. That’s good. Relieved?”

Youichi hums. Miyuki kicks his leg.

“Get out of here and go finish your assignment, then. I don’t wanna have to listen to you complain about it later.”

Youichi lets his head fall back against the couch and roll to the side to look at him. “I hate you, you know?”

Miyuki just grins. “Sure you do. C’mon now, get a move on.”

Youichi groans and kicks him back, before standing up again and stretching his arms. He does hate when Miyuki has a point, but sometimes he just has to give it to him. And he really needs to pass this class.

 

Youichi almost wonders, sometimes, whether he’s always been so impulsive or if spending the majority of his time for the past few years with other baseball players has made him worse. Now, when Haruichi telling him last night that Seidou’s so boring when I’m the only one not at practice was apparently reason enough to get on the subway there as soon as his classes were over for the day, he thinks maybe it's both. Haruichi’s not the type to complain, especially not if he feels the situation is justified, but Youichi would argue that just because things make sense doesn’t mean it can’t fucking suck. And being kept out of practice fucking sucks. Youichi got bored of it after just a few days when he had to be out for a week as precaution, a month or over would’ve driven him crazy. Especially in high school, especially in third year, when every day feels irreplaceable. Youichi decided he wasn't the kind of guy to sit by and watch.

Somehow, he thinks walking through these streets and to that gate that shaped three years of his life shouldn’t feel so familiar, when it’s a chapter he can never return to, but it does. There’s nostalgia woven in the way he keeps his hands in his pockets as he walks past the field and stops to say hi to Takashima and coach Kataoka—coach Ochiai is further away, and Kuramochi doesn’t have a kind enough heart to go all the way over there. His coaching may have made him a better player, but Youichi’s been known to hold a grudge at times. It’s not something he cares to change that much. There’s something other than nostalgia echoing in his steps on the way to Haruichi’s room.

“You-san.” Haruichi doesn’t even have the grace to look surprised when he opens the door to find Youichi standing there. “What are you doing here?”

“Hanging out,” he shrugs. “If you’ll have me, I mean. I didn’t really have anything better to do, so.”

That’s a lie, really, uni gives him enough work to make sure he’d never have any free time if he wanted it that way, one that Haruichi’s smile assures him he’s not getting away with. It’s fine, though. He’s no stranger to getting hours of work done in half the time, and maybe he’s a little too willing to do unreasonable things for that smile. Maybe impulsivity has always been one of his most recognizable qualities.

“Sure,” Haruichi says. “I can probably fit you in my schedule.”

Youichi laughs as he follows him in.

“How long d’you have to keep the sling on?” he asks a little later, when he’s sitting at Haruichi’s desk and fidgeting with a pen he found. 

“The doctor said around two weeks,” Haruichi says from where he’s sitting cross-legged on his bed. “I don’t really have to use it, but that way I’m not accidentally using my arm when I’m not supposed to. Which is good, because it hurts whenever I do, so. I can’t get back to practice for a month, though. Speaking of,” he tilts his head to the left just slightly. “Don’t you have practice today?”

“Yeah.” Youichi throws the pen up in the air, catching it before it falls back on the desk. “It starts later than yours, so I’ll make it well on time.”

“Oh, that’s good. Wouldn’t want you to get in trouble with your team.”

“Nah,” he grins. “I’m not the type to get in trouble.”

Haruichi looks at him, serious eyes above the twitch of the corner of his lips that betrays the smile he’s not letting out.

“Don’t say ridiculous things, You-san.”

Youichi does his best attempt at an innocent smile. Haruichi bursts out laughing.

“C’mon,” Youichi says, and he’s trying not to focus on the way Haruichi’s hair has fallen in his face and how easy it’d be to just walk over and brush it back. “Let’s watch something. We never finished that movie you showed me.”

Haruichi gives him a doubtful look. “Didn’t you say you hated it? We can watch something else.”

“I said it was bad,” he clarifies, “not that I hated it. It’s a fun kind of bad.”

“Alright then,” Haruichi slides down from his bed, and reaches up with his good arm to tuck his hair behind his ear. Youichi wonders if it’s as soft as it looks. Youichi wonders if he’s somehow just as stupid as Miyuki. That would be a devastating blow to his ego. “But that means you don’t get to complain.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Youichi says, and Haruichi just looks at him with that quirk up to his lips that’s telling him to shut up already as he puts the movie on.

 

It becomes a thing, somehow. His classes tend to end pretty early, and Seidou isn’t far enough that he can’t make it there and back in time for practice so, really there’s no reason why he wouldn’t take the opportunity to spend more time with Haruichi. Miyuki looks at him weirdly every day, but Miyuki’s the last person who could say anything about it.

It’s not like they do anything in particular, really, both just taking the time to rest a bit and enjoy each other’s company. Maybe he should take him out to do something, Youichi thinks, throwing the baseball he’s been playing with high above his head and catching it again from where he’s lying on the ground. He’s sure he can find something nice to do in town.

“You-san,” Haruichi calls out, and Youichi catches the baseball again before propping himself up on his elbow to face him, sitting at his desk. Haruichi’s better than him at staying on chairs properly. Youichi seems to inevitably end up on the floor. “Don’t you have work to do?”

“Not really, no,” he says, even as he thinks about the assignments he has due this week. “It’s fine.”

Haruichi hums. He’s always been a little too good at telling when Youichi’s full of shit.

“You can bring work here, you know. Unless you want to stop coming in, I mean, which doesn’t seem so likely. I have to study too, anyway.”

Youichi grins. “Nah, I’m good. I can do it all, y’know?”

That gets a chuckle out of him. “Sure, alright. Give me that then.”

Youichi spins it in his hand one more time before throwing it, watching it land in Haruichi’s good hand, open and waiting at the exact right place.

“Man,” he lets himself fall back on the floor, an arm under his head to act as a cushion. “I miss playing with you.”

It’s nothing close to an uncommon thought and, like Miyuki with Sawamura, it’s not even that he wishes he got to spend more time with Haruichi—there’s just an easiness that comes with forming a keystone combination with Haruichi, simple trust that he’ll be at the right place at the right time whenever he needs him. More than trust, really, it’s faith. A certainty.

It’s quiet for a second or three, silence only broken by the familiar sound of a baseball falling into a hand’s palm.

“Just me,” Haruichi asks, “or my brother too?”

There’s a mark on the ceiling that Youichi is staring at. He knows what the question means, prodding as much as much as offering him a way out. One response is an emergency fire escape, the other a dive into the deep end. He breathes. “Just you,” he says. “You know that.” Then, with a smile, “You’re a better player than him, anyway.”

Haruichi’s laugh is the answer he was looking for. “Don’t let him hear you say that.”

“Good to know you wouldn’t have my back.”

“You can fend for yourself.”

Youichi huffs out a laugh, and pushes himself up on an elbow again. “That’s cold but, alright. D’you wanna go out tomorrow? We’re off practice, so I’d have more time.”

“To do what?”

“Don’t know,” Youichi shrugs as best he can in this position. “I’ll think of something. Just figured being banned from practice doesn’t mean you have to stay here.”

Haruichi gives him a smile. “That would be nice. You’d better think of something fun, then.”

Youichi raises his eyebrows high enough to make him laugh. His ability to draw laughter from Haruichi ranks probably just below his baseball skills in terms of things he’s good at and is proud of. Sometimes he catches himself marveling a little at how much Haruichi’s got him wrapped around his finger. Not that he minds. Or that he intends to make things easy for him. “You leave that to me. Don’t worry about it.”

“You saying that makes me feel like I should be worrying about it.”

Youichi puts on a serious face. “I won’t get you in trouble, promise. Coach would kill me if I did, anyway.”

Haruichi grins, getting down from his desk chair to crouch next to him and pat him on the shoulder. “I know you wouldn’t,” he says. His hair is so temptingly within reach. Youichi feels disgustingly in love. “You know I could beat you up if you did.”

It’s Youichi’s turn to break out laughing. “Yeah. You could.”

 

“Do I get to know where we’re going, or not?” Haruichi asks.

They’re standing on the train station’s platform, Youichi’s bag hanging off his shoulder. It’s a nice day, sunny and warm with a light wind that keeps it from being too hot and uncomfortable. 

“Not yet,” he says. “We’re not going that far though, don’t worry.”

“Who said I was worried?” Haruichi raises an eyebrow. “I’m just curious.”

“Well you’ll have to bear with it a little longer,” Youichi grins for a second, before quickly reaching out to put a hand on Haruichi’s shoulder to pull him towards him, letting a guy and the huge bag he’s carrying walk by. “Sorry, thought it might knock into your elbow.”

Haruichi smiles. “Thanks,” he says, and brings up his other hand to pat Youichi’s still on his shoulder. 

Youichi tells himself it’s warm enough that the burning in his cheeks isn’t noticeable when he steps away. He’s not sure he believes that.

“C’mon,” he nods towards the train that’s just coming in. “That’s us.”

The train ride takes less than an hour, city views very quickly giving way to fields and open landscapes. Youichi doesn’t miss the way Haruichi has of leaning a little towards the window, and he figures he can’t have gone wrong with a little afternoon trip to the countryside.

“Eijun’s always talking about how much he misses the countryside,” he says, gaze still on the landscapes outsides, chin resting in his hand. He glances at Youichi. “Think he’ll be mad you took me and not him?”

Youichi huffs. “He can bother his boyfriend about it, not me.”

Haruichi gives him a small smile. “Seems fair.” 

Their stop isn’t long after that, the air warm and carrying the scent of flowers and trees in the breeze when they step out onto the platform. Youichi can’t remember the last time he got out of the city. Maybe this’ll be good for him, too. 

“So,” Haruichi stands next to him, the hand of the arm he doesn’t have in a sling deep in his jacket’s pocket. “Where to now, boss?”

Youichi laughs. “Don’t call me that. We can just walk around, I didn’t have anything specific planned. Just thought it’d be nice to have a change of scenery, for once. There’s a couple streets that looked interesting, though, since the weather’s nice.”

“Sounds good! Lead the way, then.”

They spend the next couple of hours walking around the town, looking around buildings and parks and streets and smaller alleys. One of them’s lined on both sides by sweets and candy vendors, so Youichi gets some for Haruichi, who only accepts if they split it. Youichi thinks he can work with that.

“How’s uni going?” Haruichi asks when they turn the corner to find themselves in front of a small park, and he takes a sweet from the bag Youichi is holding. “You haven’t talked about it much. How are classes?”

“Yeah, it’s pretty good.” He shrugs, lets his fingers trail along the tender green leaves of a bush that just reaches his waist as they walk past. “It’s a lot to get used to at first, but not bad.”

Haruichi hums, lightly grips onto the metal pole holding up a swing set to swivel around it. “What about the team?”

“Team’s good.” Youichi sits on one of the swings, and ignores the creaking sound it makes. He’s confident enough it shouldn’t collapse on him, and he can’t be bothered to move again. “It’s easier with Miyuki there too, honestly. I know how he plays. Getting used to the rest of the team is a process, y’know, so having some sense of familiarity helps.”

“I bet,” Haruichi smiles. “I remember my first year at Seidou, everything was so different from what I was used to. Having Ryousuke around was a bit of a relief in a way. Kind of a bad idea in others,” he adds with a grimace.

“Yeah.” Youichi looks at him. “I can imagine why. You’re fine now, though.”

“Yeah,” he gives him a smile again. “I don’t think I really was a person in first year yet.”

Youichi laughs. “Nobody was, trust me. Especially not Miyuki. Or me. Or Sawamura. Takes a good few months to figure out how to exist.”

“Right. I’m not sure Eijun’s figured it out yet,” Haruichi says, and Youichi snorts.

“He’s not that bad, really. Not anymore at least.”

Haruichi grins. “I know.” He walks over to Youichi, and gives him his good hand to pull him up to his feet. “Let’s keep moving, there’s more of this place I want to see.”

“Alright.” Youichi takes the hand he’s offered. “Let’s go.”

They walk for a while longer around the town after leaving the park, weaving through streets with small talk and sugar sticking to their fingertips.

“Hey,” Haruichi says, stopping his tracks in front of a museum. It’s a small building, unassuming in the way it’s almost hidden between two bigger ones, a little more in front. “Let’s go in.”

“Yeah? It’s probably classical art. I thought you weren’t that interested in it.”

Haruichi shrugs. “Not really. It’s nice when you explain it to me, though.”

Youichi blinks. “Alright, yeah, okay. Let’s go then, if you want.”

Haruichi smiles, and hands him the candy bag so he can hold onto his arm with his good one, and steer them inside. Youichi thinks he has to be actively trying to kill him at this point. Miyuki can never know about any of this or he’ll never hear the end of it, and Miyuki’s annoying enough when he doesn’t have that kind of ammunition against him.

The museum is pretty small so it doesn’t take long before they’ve gone through it all, Youichi pointing out details and fun facts when they come to mind as he looks at the pieces. It’s nice. He likes talking about art, always has but more so now that he’s grown more comfortable about it after entering an art degree. It’s easier as an adult to reconcile the parts of him that would seem contradictory at first glance—playing baseball with doing an art degree; being impulsive and impetuous at times with having a clear and precise idea of how things should be done to be done right and standing by it. Haruichi helps, too, by listening to him. Neither of them is foolish enough to not realize what’s going on (neither of them is as thick headed as Sawamura or in their own heads as much as Miyuki), but he knows Haruichi knows that doing things right is as important to him as getting to the end result he wishes for.

It’s a fine line they’re walking, unsaids and hidden meanings lingering in the shadow of a smile and the crease of an eye, with clarity just a few words away that Youichi won’t breach yet. He appreciates that Haruichi is patient enough to give him that.

“That was nice,” Haruichi says when they’ve made it back to Seidou, the late afternoon sun having shifted to sunset on their train ride back, last remnants of it sitting just on the horizon line as Youichi walks him back. “Getting out of the city was good. Thanks.”

“Sure.” Youichi smiles, hands in his jeans’ pockets, before taking a step back. “See you tomorrow.”

 

“Hey, Miyuki.” Youichi leans over the back of the couch, where Miyuki’s typing away at an assignment. Probably. None of the words he catches a glimpse of mean anything to Youichi, which is usually a pretty good indication it’s some biology stuff. “Get your boyfriend to stop harassing me.”

Miyuki snickers. Bastard. “He’s mad you keep stealing his best friend away from him. Nothing I can do about that.”

“I’m not stealing anyone,” he protests. “I’m only there during practice, so it’s not like Sawamura could sneak out anyway.”

“I know.” Miyuki glances at him. “He’s just trying to be annoying. How’s Haruichi doing?”

“Good. He said he felt better keeping the sling for now, but he’s starting physical therapy soon I think.”

Miyuki hums. “Should just be a couple more weeks, right? That’s good.”

“When’s this due?” Youichi asks, nodding towards the laptop.

“Two hours,” Miyuki grimaces. “I’m like two thirds done, just have to bullshit my way through a conclusion, abstract, and introduction.”

Youichi snorts. “That sounds like more than a third, but okay. I’ll leave you to it. Good luck and don’t die on the couch.”

“You should get some rest,” Miyuki calls out once Youichi’s already almost left the room. “Coach won’t go easy on you if you show up to practice without enough sleep.”

Youichi just ignores him.

 

“You look terrible,” Haruichi says as soon as he opens his door.

“Thanks,” Youichi groans. “You don’t.”

Haruichi chuckles and steps aside to let him in. “You didn’t have to come if you were tired.”

Youichi waves the comment off. “Miyuki would’ve just gotten on my nerves.” He takes a seat on the floor. “Would’ve kept talking about how I never listen to him and all that.”

“Mhm. And is it true?” Haruichi sits next to him.

“No,” Youichi grins and looks at him. “I just don’t want him to know when he’s right.”

Haruichi laughs, and Youichi thinks he could get lost in that sound and the way he leans back into it, pink hair falling in his face. Youichi’s in love. Haruichi’s looking at him.

“Let’s play a game,” he says as he pushes himself off the floor, and goes to rummage in some drawers.

“You’ve only got one hand, though,” Youichi points out.

“I know.” Haruichi turns back to him, controller in hand and light in his eye he gets when he has an idea in mind. “We can share.”

“Sure,” Youichi replies, because there’s nothing else he can really say.

The consequences don’t immediately dawn on him, not before Haruichi hands him the controller and sits next to him—against him is more accurate, shoulder of his bad arm and knee pressing against Youichi’s when he takes his half of the controller.

“Alright,” he says when Haruichi starts up Hades . “Let’s see how our teamwork’s doing.”

With Haruichi in charge of all attacks and special moves, and Youichi handling movements, the first few attempts at a run go about as well as Youichi expected—so, nothing short of a disaster. They slowly start figuring out a system, though, with Haruichi calling for Youichi to move when he needs him to, and Youichi asking for him to use a dash. Somehow, they figure it out enough that at some point, the calls gradually die down until they turn more into reactions to what’s happening rather than an effort to coordinate.

“Yes!” they both call out when they finally beat the first boss (a harder feat than Youichi would’ve thought, when he’s gone through this fight so many times he feels like he could do it with his eyes closed), and it’s only then that Youichi realized how close they’ve gotten, heads leaning against each other until they both moved back with celebration.

It feels right, though. He still shuffles away just a bit, just so he can look at Haruichi without feeling like he’s being pulled into his eyes to drown.

“Nice one,” he says. “I was starting to think we weren’t going to make it.”

“You-san.” Haruichi tilts his head a little to the side, lips lilting just slightly in that smile he gets when he’s got something to say, usually at Youichi’s expense. Youichi’s ready for anything. “What's it going to take for you to kiss me?”

Youichi wasn’t ready for anything, turns out. Maybe he should’ve known better, really.

He grins. “Well I would have, but you so rudely interrupted me before I even had the chance.”

Haruichi’s head leans a tiny bit further. “Is that so?”

“Yeah. You’ve ruined my whole plan now, I’m gonna have to think of a whole new one. That’ll take a while, y’know?”

Haruichi laughs. “Oh no, that sounds awful. Maybe I can help with that, then.”

And he leans in, shifting his weight on his good arm after letting go of the controller—Youichi brings a hand up to his shoulder for stability, and then he’s kissing him and the only thing in his mind is pink (pink hair, pink eyes, pink cheeks, pink lips pressed against his).

“About time,” Haruichi murmurs after moving back.

Youichi brushes away a strand of hair that’s fallen out of place to tuck it back behind his ear, and the simple gesture he’s finally allowed feels like newfound freedom. “Thanks for waiting.”

“Sure,” he smiles. “It felt important. And it was worth it. Now, though,” he glances up behind Youichi, “you’re going to be late.”

Youichi thinks he nearly pulls a muscle with how quickly he turns around. “Fuck,” he says when he catches the time. “Fuck! Coach is going to kill me.”

He jumps up to his feet, gathers the few things he brought in a matter of seconds, and nearly bolts out the door before turning back and kissing Haruichi again, now standing and leaning against the beds. 

“Miyuki’s never going to let me live this one down,” he says, closing his eyes briefly, a hand resting against Haruichi’s cheek.

“No,” Haruichi replies, and Youichi sighs before opening his eyes again. “But it’ll be worse if you’re later to practice than you’re already going to be.”

“Fine, alright, I’m going.” He takes a step back, a second, before turning around and quickly slipping his shoes on. “See you tomorrow!”

Haruichi’s laugh echoes behind him as he runs out to the station, and he’d swear he hears it echo in each of his footsteps for his entire way back.