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Say A Prayer for the Butterfly

Chapter Text

Time heals all wounds.

Logically speaking, this statement made perfect sense. Given time, all physical wounds, external and internal, will heal. They may not be the same as they were before, but they heal, nonetheless. Rei wasn’t sure why that particular anecdote chose to lodge itself in his mind at that moment. Well…he was fairly sure, but didn’t want to admit it. His grip on the one of the train’s poles tightened as the car jolted. One more stop, he thought. The blue-haired man fidgeted with his glasses and unconsciously straightened his tie. He had always viewed nervousness as unbeautiful and unbecoming of people. Things happened the way they were supposed to and nothing could be changed about it. It was one of the many beliefs he held dear B.N. (or Before Nagisa, as Gou affectionately referred to it.) Nagisa was nothing less than a whirlwind, an unstoppable force of nature that sucked you up and never let go. Even after three years of being separated, Rei still wasn’t free from the blond. Not truly.

The train car jolted again and a woman’s voice announced his stop. He briskly left the car with a few others. Once on the street, he stopped to check the address of his destination on his phone (with time to spare, punctual as always.) His thoughts could not help but to linger on Nagisa once more. Had he gotten taller? Maybe cut his hair to a reasonable length? Or had nothing changed at all? He was so caught up in his internal questions that he nearly passed the restaurant. Rei glanced up at the sign, then at his phone. More than five minutes before our scheduled meeting time. He smiled to himself, straightened his glasses and tie one last time, and pushed open the door.

His violet eyes scanned the restaurant for a familiar face. Just as the maître d’ approached him, he spotted two of his former senpais. He waived the man off, gesturing to his friends waiting at a table already. Makoto-senpai, er, Makoto had somehow managed to gain more muscle since graduating college. Quite the sight for any parents of the elementary schoolers he taught, Rei was sure. Haru looked as disinterested as ever, but anyone who knew him could tell that he was hanging on to every word that was coming out of his companion’s mouth. Rei finally reached the table, bowing shallowly to the two men. Makoto smiled at him and rose to envelop Rei in a spine-crushing hug.

“There’s no need for formalities, Rei. We’ve missed you.” The blue haired man knew Makoto also spoke on Haru’s behalf when he said this and took a seat on the other side of the table.

“Of course, Makoto-sen--,” He stopped himself before he could complete the usual suffix. Haru let out a light snort into his glass of water.

“Rin said he’s on his way and Nagisa, as usual, will be fashionably late.” Makoto informed Rei. He nodded. “So, how have things been? We’ve been told things are looking up at Kimoshiro Corp. thanks to their newest head scientist.”

Rei chuckled softly. “I was quite surprised when they gave me the appointment. Most of my research is nothing but theory and most companies would like more solid evidence when it comes to scientific subjects. However, one of my superiors apparently saw the potential in one of the reports I submitted to the board and wanted to give me all of the necessary materials to bring it to fruition. And, well, here I am.”

“That’s wonderful, Rei. What are you working on in particular? Unless, that’s classified or something.” The brunet joked.

Rei laughed, “Actually, it’s--,”

“Sorry, I’m late.” A familiar voice cut him off. The three seated looked up at Rin, all giving him their own greetings. Even Haru hummed. He took a seat next to Rei, tapping the table once. “But, at least I’m not as late as Nagisa.”

“What was that about me, Rinrin?” The blond peeked his head around the startled redhead. “If you’d been here just a second later, you could have been fashionably late, too.” Nagisa sat in the chair left of Haru, right across from Rei. “How is everyone?”

“Well, I’m just peachy.” Rin began, “Do you guys understand how many perverts I’ve arrested in the past two weeks for indecent exposure? It’s fuckin’ ridiculous. Is there some kind of convention…”

Rei tuned out of what the man next to him was saying, choosing to, instead, stare at the blond across from him. It wasn’t staring, per se, just observing. Nagisa had indeed cut his hair but his current undercut was no more professional than his unruly curls had been. The small bit of his, dare Rei call it innocence, kept by the curls falling over his forehead was wiped out by the multiple piercings lining his ear and was that a stud in his nose? Oh goodness… Regardless, Rei still found him as beautiful as ever. The blond was laughing and smiling at Rin’s story, giving Rei confirmation that despite the piercings and hair, Nagisa hadn’t changed all that much. So, he was startled when Nagisa’s gaze quickly landed on him, a scarily serious look on his face, and he mouthed “Stop staring” at the younger man. Rei blinked and tried to focus on Rin’s story that didn’t seem to have an end. Maybe Nagisa had changed more than he anticipated.

Chapter Text

Nagisa had been excited. Really he was. He was also scared out of his fucking mind. Despite all of them living in the same city, none of his high school friends (especially a certain blue haired dork) had seen each other in quite a while. Not all together at least. With Rin still gunning for the next Olympics and always doing international training camps and such, he wasn’t in the country much. Makoto and Haru lived together (no surprise to literally anyone) but both were busy with their respective occupations. Haru had retired early from professional swimming so that he could spend more time with Makoto. Most companies still looked to him for endorsements, so his money flow was pretty steady. And then, there was Rei.

Scientific prodigy, quickly climbing the ranks at his company and making breakthroughs in his field. Something that pushed his friends to the background and didn’t seem to bother him one bit. Nagisa wasn’t offended or anything, Rei let him know pretty clearly how much his relationship with the blond didn’t matter when they were in college.

Don’t think about it, Nagi. Not tonight. You have to prove to him that you’re fine—no, better than fine without him.

With these thoughts, he stepped off the train, glancing once at his phone to check the time. Perfect. He quickly made his way to the restaurant. The route wasn’t unfamiliar. A guy had taken him there once on a date, that’s why he suggested it. The food was good (they even served mackerel), prices reasonable, and there may or may not have been a really nice club just down the block. Nagisa spotted wine colored hair in front of him as he entered. He heard the last part of Rin’s sentence as the older man took a seat. “What was that about me, Rinrin?” He heard the redhead’s tch as he took his seat next to Haru. Politely, he inquired about how everyone was doing. Nagisa made a point of not looking at Rei, who was sitting primly across from him. Probably looking stuck up as usual.

Rin had launched into some story about naked people which Nagisa was only half listening to. Not that it wasn’t interesting; some parts made him laugh. But he could feel violet eyes boring into the side of his head. It was a little bit satisfying to know that Rei still couldn’t keep his eyes off of him. Nagisa had changed quite a bit since he’d seen him. Besides the obvious hair and piercings, his cheerful demeanor had become something earned by those around him. After learning that even a butterfly’s soft wings could hurt you, he had to keep himself on guard at all times. The staring was getting a bit annoying, though. Fixing a scowl he had perfected over the years onto his face, he silently mouthed to the younger man to stop staring. Rei’s taken aback look was more than priceless. The blue haired man swallowed and quickly averted his eyes. Nagisa smirked and tuned back in to Rin’s seemingly never-ending story. This was sure to be an interesting night.

Chapter Text

In the span of two hours and three minutes, Nagisa did not speak to Rei. At all. Sure, he generally addressed everyone seated at the table on multiple occasions, but Rei was at least 97% certain that those comments somehow did not include him. It seemed no one was brave enough to deal with the proverbial elephant in the room. And Rei was completely alright with that. He’d rather not sully the reunion with his unavoidable tears. Thus far, he counted the dinner as a bittersweet success. That is, until Nagisa suggested another activity.

“Let’s go drinking! There’s this great club right down the street.” He rested his chin on his folded hands, staring expectantly at their friends, a less-than-innocent smile on his face.

Rin shrugged. “I’m in. Haru? Mako?” Nagisa turned his gaze on the couple next to him, a pout making its way onto his face. Rei looked on in mild confusion. There was no way that would work. They had known each other for too long and of course Makoto was immune to something as juvenile as—

“I don’t see why not.” Makoto conceded, seemingly getting a confirmation from Haru through just a glance. (How they did that was still a mystery to Rei.) Shock was clear on the blue-haired man’s face as Nagisa finally looked at him.

“And you’re coming too, right, Rei?” Although it was phrased as a question, Rei really didn’t feel like he had a choice in the matter. Not trusting himself to actually speak to the blond, he simply nodded. “Great!” This was going to be a longer (and possibly more interesting) night than Rei expected.

~.~

The group made their way down the block, Nagisa animatedly telling Makoto and Haru a story while Rin and Rei followed closely behind.

“Soooo, Speedo Glasses, how ya been?” Rin’s voice brought Rei out of the staring contest he was having with Nagisa’s pants that looked like they had simply been sprayed onto the blond’s legs. He was actively trying to avoid letting his gaze linger above Nagisa’s thighs. “And that would be the second time you couldn’t stop staring at him tonight.”

Rei’s head turned quickly to the man next to him, eyes wide. “You mean—?”

“Hey, we’ve all done it. It’s no problem. Unless you count an annoyed Nagisa as being a problem.” Rei opened and closed his mouth, unsure of what to say. Rin threw an arm across his shoulders. “Look, I’m not saying getting wasted is a good thing but for the conversation that will inevitably happen between you two tonight, I’d say don’t go easy on the drinks. Alcohol has a tendency to make you say what your heart wants you to and your brain doesn’t.”

Chapter Text

Seeing as how it was only half past ten, the club wasn’t nearly as wild as it would be a few hours later. Rei was thankful for this fact. It would give him adequate time to acclimate himself to such an unfamiliar environment. His work schedule never really allowed for much leisure time, although, he made it a priority to run every morning and visit the gym at least three evenings a week. Rei prided himself on being in peak physical condition. He was nowhere near as lean as he was in high school, but he certainly didn’t have rippling biceps (Gou’s words, not his) like Makoto. Instinctively, Rei loosened his tie as Nagisa led their group to the almost empty bar. The blond waved over a tall, green-haired bartender. The man placed down the glass he was cleaning and sauntered over to them.

“Well, well, well, you were just here a couple nights ago, you need something or you just miss me?”

Nagisa rolled his eyes as the taller man winked. “No, Kai. I just came from dinner. And these,” he gestured to their group, “are my friends from high school.”

“Oh, wow. The ones you always talk about?” Nagisa nodded. I’ll bet he’s never talked about me, Rei thought. “Alright then. Let’s see.” He stared at them with narrowed eyes, a curious look on his face. “Great swimmer, artist and generally disinterested with the world? You must be Haru.” Kai pointed to the man in question (who was aptly staring in the opposite direction), his finger moving immediately to the brunette next to him. “Joined at the hip with Mr. Gold Medals, Makoto?” Makoto chuckled and nodded. Kai squinted at Rin. “Smile.” The redhead bared his pointy teeth. “Bipedal shark person. Rin.”

“Nagisa!” Rin whined. Makoto laughed while Haru let out an amused hum.

“No, no, man. It’s cool. How’d you get ‘em like that anyway?”

The redhead awkwardly rubbed the back of his neck. “Uh…they’re, um, hereditary.”

“Wow. Interesting.” Rei’s heartbeat sped up as Kai’s icy blue gaze landed on him. He tilted his head in confusion before his eyes widened and he turned back to Nagisa, a smile creeping onto his face. Kai turned back to Rei, looking him up and down. “Even more interesting. Ryugazaki Rei, right?” Violet eyes blinking and he slowly nodded. “He is cute, Nagisa. In a dorky sort of way.” Rei fumbled to push his glasses up in an attempt to hide his reddening face.

“Kai!” the blond yelled out. Rei’s head was reeling. Nagisa said I was cute? To another person? And in a dorky sort of way?

The bartender held his hands up in surrender. “Sorry. Cross-examination’s over, gents. Anyway, what can I get you guys?” The men placed their orders, Rei simply asking to have whatever Rin was having. Even as an adult, he rarely ever drank alcohol unless it was champagne at a corporate event or something. Of course, when Haru only asked for water, Kai chuckled good-naturedly and went off to get their drinks. Rin immediately turned to Nagisa, leaning around Makoto’s front to glare at the blond.

“A bipedal shark person, Nagisa? Really?”

Nagisa held up a hand. “Keep in mind, most of what Kai hears from me is drunk talk, Rin. Plus, it’s not like it’s not true.” He added. Rin pouted, mumbling something that sounded like “I’m not a fucking shark.”

Presumably, calling me cute was something he said while intoxicated. That makes sense. Rei reasoned.

“So, Nagisa, how long have you known Kai?” Makoto asked.

The blond thought about it for a moment. “Eh, almost a year, actually. I got dragged here on a date once and the guy ditched me, and Kai helped me get home that night after I had pretty much drunk half my weight in alcohol.” He sighed. “He’s a nice guy and no, Rin, we’re not dating.”

“Well, excuse me for assuming that when you’ve told him all that stuff about us.” The redhead countered.

Nagisa shrugged. “Guy’s a good listener.”

Hearing Nagisa talk about another man shouldn’t have given Rei the surge of jealousy he felt. It was petty to be envious of someone the blond considered a friend. And pettiness was not beautiful. Still, he couldn’t get rid of the anvil slowly pulling his heart into his shoes. Fortunately, (or unfortunately) Kai chose that moment to come back with their drinks.

Chapter Text

Of course, he had told Kai that Rei was cute. (Kai told him the day afterwards that his exact phrasing had been something more along the lines of “hella fuckin fiiiiiiiine”) So, Nagisa was sort of thankful he hadn’t relayed exactly what he had said about Rei. It wasn’t even a lie. In fact, it only seemed like he’d gotten more attractive. Something that was not good for the condition of Nagisa’s heart. He was too relieved when Kai brought them their drinks. The blond took a long sip of his drink. He normally started off the night with the fruity stuff then went to harder drinks as the night went on. Kai normally stopped him before he could hurt himself, though. He leaned slightly forward, glancing at Rei who was currently grimacing at whatever drink he and Rin had ordered. It was probably that shitty Australian beer that only the redhead had any taste for. Nagisa waved Kai over. “Yeah?”

“Please get Rei something else. Not too sweet but not beer.”

The green-haired man winked. “Coming right up.”

Nagisa smiled a bit when he saw the somewhat-surprised-somewhat-relieved look on Rei’s face when Kai put the drink in front of him. When the blue haired man began to blush and Kai pointed down the bar at Nagisa, the blond quickly averted his eyes and took a sip of his drink.  More people had begun trickling into the club as the night went on, the men making small talk amongst themselves. Nagisa was stuck chatting with Makoto around Haru’s stubborn body. He assumed Rei was talking to Rin down the bar.

Makoto glanced behind them at the sparsely populated dancefloor. “Do you wanna dance Haru-chan?”

“No.” Haru mumbled into his glass of water. Makoto sighed, smiling softly at the black haired man.

Rin scoffed. “I’ll dance with you, Makoto.”

Blue eyes quickly flicked up, then narrowed. “I wanna dance. Come on, Makoto.” Haru retorted, grabbing Makoto’s hand and pulling him toward the dancefloor. The taller man glanced back and Rin gave him a smirk and thumbs up. Nagisa chuckled.

“Nice job, Rin.”

The redhead grinned before taking a swig of his beer. “Even married guys, Mako included, need a wingman every once in a while.”

Nagisa saw him say something to Rei, then down the rest of his bottle and head to the dancefloor. Pink eyes stayed on his nearly empty glass as the blue haired man came and took the seat previously occupied by Haru.

“Nagisa.”

“Rei.”

The shorter man sighed, “Look, I—,” he started as Rei began “Can we— ,”

“You first.” Rei conceded.

Nagisa bit his lip. “I’d really like to get through this night without talking about us. Please. Tonight we’re just friends. Nothing more, nothing less.”

Rei pushed up his glasses, in that dorky way of his, and nodded. “Of course.”

“So…how’s work?” Nagisa slowly said. Rei huffed out a laugh.