Chapter 1: The Tape
After receiving a text from Fukutomi reading, “Come to the clubroom alone before practice” Arakita couldn’t help but drag his ass out of bed to see what Fukutomi was so eager to discuss. Once he arrived at the clubroom, the raven knocked on the door, glaring up at the still dark sky.
“Enter,” Fukutomi’s voice boomed.
“What the hell do you want to talk to me at this ungodly hour,” Arakita squinted as he walked into the bright clubroom.
Fukutomi’s face was just as stern and serious as always, “How was Haruka’s party the other night?”
“Who the fuck is that? It’s too early for this crap” Arakita rubbed his temples, “I think Shinkai went to that party, you should ask him.”
“I only ask because the two of you went to that party together, along with Izumida” he paused, “but Izumida was not the reason I was called into the office yesterday.”
“Just spit it out already. You’re pissing me off.”
Fukutomi pulled a disk out of his bag, “This is what I’m talking about. The school gave this to me, after I promised that it would never happen again. Do I have to remind you what happened after Haruka’s party?”
Sure, Arakita was drunk that night, but it doesn’t mean he didn’t remember what happened. He covered his face and groaned as Fukutomi continued, “You and Shinkai decided to come back to the academy AND PERFORM SEXUAL INTERCOURSE IN PUBLIC,” the blond’s voice grew louder as Arakita shouted for him to shut up.
A moment of tense silence passed before Arakita muttered, “Now what?”
“Well I have the tape, and I’m sure that Shinkai doesn’t remember what happened, or he would be panic stricken by now. So, this will stay between us.”
A smirk played on the raven’s features, “Are you blackmailing me, Fuku-chan?”
“Think of it more as you owe me a favor now.”
Arakita narrowed his eyes, “What do you want?”
“I haven’t decided yet, but I’ll let you know when I decide,” Fukutomi slid the disk back into his bag, “I won’t say a word to Shinkai either... unless you break the rules.”
“You’re a pain in the ass,” the raven sunk onto the bench and crossed his arms. A moment later the clubroom door swung open.
“Juichi, we need to have off on Saturday,” Toudou ran up to the captain.
“Why are you getting a wax,” Arakita glared at the climber.
“No,” Toudou said defensively, “The limited edition headbands made by my favorite designer go on sale that day.”
“Oh of course Fuku-chan, we should have known,” Arakita’s voice was dripping with sarcasm, as he tried not the roll his eyes at how ridiculous this situation was.
“It’s alright you guys are merely uncultured, but luckily I am here to shed some light on the important things in life for you,” the climber remarked, proudly sticking his thumb in his puffed out chest. Arakita’s face went blank as he concluded that Toudou was indeed a dumb bitch.
“Yasutomo, why didn’t you wait for me,” Shinkai pouted as he walked into the clubroom.
“Fuku-chan, called me out here”
Arakita didn’t have the heart to tell his boyfriend that their captain had a tape of them having sex in public. If he did, Shinkai would surely be humiliated in front of their captain and ace climber. Arakita imagined how the situation would play out; Shinkai would surely be speechless and turn beat red, then his lover would bite his large bottom lip because it would start trembling. Once he found his voice, he would brush his red hair from his face, and say that they would be more careful next time. Overall Shinkai would be mature, understanding, and loving (and totally perfect of course) but Arakita knew that it would bother him. In the end, he opted to not say anything.
The whole Hakone team knew about their relationship, and the redhead wasn’t too bothered about them doing embarrassing stuff in front of them. As much of a hardass as he was, Arakita never wanted Shinkai to worry about anything or feel uncomfortable about their relationship. That’s why he didn’t give a shit if it was blackmail or a pink slip from the team, he would do anything for Shinkai.
“Fuku-chan just wanted to bitch about how sloppy my riding has been, but who could blame me since I have to ride behind this,” he tapped Shinkai’s ass, which shot blush all the way across the sprinter’s face.
All the while Toudou was crumbling Fukutomi’s iron will until finally he sighed, “Fine, we won’t have practice on Saturday.”
Toudou jumped onto the bench, “Hooray!
“With the exception,” Fukutomi added, “That the whole team goes the mall with you and we all ride there and take the long way.”
“But...but, I want to beat the crowd to get the limited edition headbands,” Toudou weakly pointed to his current headband.
“Those are the terms, accept it or no deal.”
Arakita glared at Fukutomi and thought about all the deals he was currently drawing up. He mumbled under his breath, “What is he Rumplestillskin?”
Shinkai leaned close to him, “What did you say?”
He quickly corrected himself and yelled at Fukutomi, “I said what the hell am I supposed to do in the mall while he is buying headbands.”
“I’m going to need bodyguards to guard my beautiful face,” Toudou gestured at Izumida who just walked into the clubroom.
“Huh,” Izumida gaped, eyes wide.
“There are going to be tons of people there so I need people to help me fight off the crowds, and help me search for the headbands.”
“Do you even hear what you are saying, you want us fight the crowds for clothes that little girls wear,” Arakita growled pointing at the climber.
Shinkai raised his hand and smiled cheerily, “I’ll be a bodyguard.”
“No you won’t,” the raven said pushing his boyfriend’s hand down.
“Enough,” Fukutomi called over the clubroom as Manami strolled in late, as usual.
“Manami, Saturday practice is canceled. Instead we are going to the mall to help Toudou get his limited edition headbands. We are riding our bikes the long way there” he paused before he added, “all of us will be Toudou’s bodyguards for the day. Everyone needs to get here at 6am no exceptions. Understood?”
Scattered mumbles of agreement were heard throughout the club room before Fukutomi said, “Alright let’s get today’s practice underway.”
“How was practice today, Maki-chan? You didn’t overexert yourself did you? Well that’s good,” the barrage of endless questions from Toudou with little of his own input was normal for Makishima.
“Hey, listen to this. So today at practice I talked to Fuku and he agreed to cancel Saturday’s practice. Am I not the most wonderful person that you know, Maki-chan, or what? I even got the whole team to come along with me as bodyguards so that my beautiful face wouldn’t be damaged during the fights for the headbands.”
There was a millisecond of silence before Toudou asked, “You remember the headbands that I sent you a while ago right?”
How could Makishima not remember them? The second they were announced Toudou had called him and told him every detail of their pattern and texture. He spoke animatedly for two hours about the designer and her impact on fashion and the importance of headbands.
The beautiful climber’s constant calls never bothered Makishima, on the other hand they intrigued him. He couldn’t imagine having that many things to say everyday, without fail, and always being so excited to share them. Makishima was honestly happy that Toudou wanted to spend so much time talking to him and texting him.
“So did I already tell you, Maki-chan,” Toudou’s shrill voice snapped him back to reality.
Usually Toudou never waited for an answer and just kept rattling on, but this time was different. With a crooked smile on his face, the green haired climber responded, “Yes, Toudou, you already told me. It’s great that your team is going with you this Saturday.”
“I’m just worried because of the big summer musical festival that is happening this year in Hakone. It is going to draw a huge crowd so that might bring a large crowd of people to the mall.”
Toudou seemed worried, so Makishima replied timidly, “I’m sure it will be ok.”
“You’re right I can do this,” his mood suddenly did a one-eighty, “Thanks, Maki-chan.”
“No problem, Toudou,” Makishima said twisting the end of a strand of his long green hair.
“Maki-chan, I’m going to send you a picture of this limited edition headband that I’m going to get tomorrow for you.” Makishima listened to Toudou fiddle with his phone and waited until he heard his phone vibrate.
“Thoughts, Maki-chan?” the ace climber figured the white and blue stripes along with the green and red stars would interest his self-proclaimed rival.
There was a moment of silence before Makishima softly responded, “You are going to get this for me?”
“I mean only if they have it, but I-”
“-I like it, but don’t go through too much trouble for me, Jinpachi.”
Toudou’s face flushed when Makishima called him by his first name, “It’s not too much trouble. I’m already going to be there, so one more headband is no big deal, especially for me.”
Makishima chuckled, “Of course.”
Makishima’s chuckle energized Toudou as he bounced excitedly on the balls of his feet, “AHHH, I CAN’T WAIT TILL SATURDAY, MAKI-CHAN!”
“Please don’t yell in my ear, Toudou.”
“Sorry, Maki-chan,” Toudou apologized, an air of giddiness behind his words as he clicked off his phone.
At last, Saturday had arrived. Toudou had woken up two hours before the meeting time, and had his outfit already selected ahead of time. Instead of focusing on himself, the climber wanted to make sure everyone would be on time this morning. He opened his phone, looked at the time, and pressed the number which speed dialed Makishima. As soon as the call was answered, Toudou dived into his morning babble, “Morning, Maki-chan, did you sleep well? Do you have practice today?”
“No, Kinjou is at a family reunion this weekend and won’t be back until tomorrow.”
“What? Then you should come shopping with me, Maki-chan! Have you had breakfast yet?”
“It would take me about two hours at least by bullet train, so I think I’ll pass.”
“But don’t you want to see me?”
“You will be too busy fighting people over headbands” he paused before he added, “have fun.”
Toudou was disappointed, but he rambled for about another fifteen minutes with small interjections from Makishima here and there. Finally Toudou said, “Well I have to go, Maki-chan.”
“See you, Jinpachi.”
Checking that his headband was secure, the climber headed down the hall until he reached a door with two boys names on it: Fukutomi and Shinkai. Since Arakita wasn’t in the room he shared with Toudou, the climber figured he might be in Shinkai’s room. He banged on the door again, but there was no reply.
Rummaging through his backpack, Toudou pulled out the key that Fukutomi gave. He recalled that Fukutomi said, “I’ll be heading back to my parents before we leave. I’ll be at the club room by 5:30 so I won’t be late for our 6:00 meeting time. Here is the key to my room, make sure that Shinkai and Arakita are moving.”
This was obviously a test from Fukutomi to see how committed Toudou was to this trip to the mall. He narrowed his eyes and muttered, “I can’t allow Arakita or Shinkai to ruin this day for me.”
After unlocking the door, he walked over to his teammates and he saw that they were thankfully wearing clothing. Arakita was wearing boxers and a black tank top; while Shinkai had a white T-shirt with a giant pink rabbit on it that almost matched his pink boxers. The sprinters think arm was holding the raven close to him as they slept soundly together.
Toudou looked down at them, “Hayato! Arakita! Come on it is time to wake up!”
One blue eye opened and Shinkai looked up at him, “Is it time already?”
“You two are late,” Toudou pointed at them dramatically.
Arakita rubbed his eyes, “Stop fucking shouting, and we aren’t late you are just too damn early. I’m going back to bed.”
Toudou knew it; Arakita was going to ruin this entire day for him. He was going to get wrinkles due to the stress, and then lose his fans. Maki-chan would never talk to him again because Arakita had made him a liar. Toudou had promised to get him a special headband, but now it was all shattering in front of him, as Arakita rolled over and nestled back into Shinkai’s arms. It was definitely true that a person’s life could flash before their eyes. Toudou was seeing his entire beautiful life flash before his eyes all because of Arakita’s stupidity and laziness.
Noting the climber’s distress Shinkai prodded Arakita, “Cmon Yasutomo, it is time to start getting ready.” Toudou’s eyes lit up as he reached the conclusion that Shinkai was in fact some kind of angel that was able to wash away Toudou’s fears, and tame the rabid wolf beside him. The raven sat up and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. He started grumbling a constant string of curses under his breath. Shinkai winked at the climber, “Don’t worry he is awake now. We will be there on time.”
Heading out of the door, Toudou collided with his underclassman, “Hey, where are you going, Manami?”
“I was wondering what it would feel like to ride the hill on the highest gear so I was going to try it out.”
Struggling not to explode Toudou grabbed Manami’s uniform’s collar, “What about the mall?”
“Oh yeah that was today wasn’t it,” an untroubled smile crossed the blue haired boy’s face.
“Yeah, Manami, that is today so go down the club room!”
Arakita opened the door fully dressed, “Lower your voice you know other people do sleep on this floor.”
“Shouldn’t we be heading down?” Shinkai smiled warmly from behind the raven.
Toudou snapped, “That’s what I have been telling you for the past fifteen minutes!”
The wind gently waved Toudou’s bangs as he led the Hakone Inter-High team over the hill in the direction of the mall. Exhaling, the climber tried to calm himself. The morning had been a rocky one, but now they were on the road, and they were making good time. Fukutomi’s instruction of taking the longer route was probably a wiser choice, since there were fewer cars to deal with. Plus, the six of them could cover ground just as fast, since it was a route they usually used for practice.
Toudou had worked up a gentle sweat, and he could hear Shinkai crinkling the fourth powerbar of the trip as the mall came into view. Arakita swore, “Holy shit are there really that many headband losers in the world?”
At the raven’s words, Toudou almost slammed his breaks, but he knew that Shinkai and the others behind him probably wouldn’t be able to respond fast enough. Fukutomi turned to Arakita, “be nice.”
“Look at the parking lot” Izumida peeked around from behind Arakita, “good thing we rode our bikes here.”
“I can’t believe there are so many people here for the limited edition headband sale,” Toudou commented as he started to turn into the mall.
“There is also the summer music festival that is being hosted in Hakone this year,” Fuku reminded them.
Arakita rolled his eyes, “Great there will be tons of damn tourists.”
The Manami called up to the front, “Oh yeah there is the Super Summer Sale this weekend too.”
Toudou’s heart couldn’t handle all these horrible things at once, but he had five others to hopefully help him fight off the crowd. They parked their bikes and locked them to the rack, before heading into the mall. Pulling out his phone, Toudou sent a quick text to Makishima to inform him that he had just arrived. As Toudou was texting, Fukutomi turned to the rest of the group, “While we are here I need to get food for my turtle.”
Shinkai lit up, “There is a really big pet store in here! I got lost in there the first time I went in. They have tons of animals from rabbits, to fish, to cats, to frogs, to-”
“Shinkai, I appreciate the enthusiasm, but I don’t need another pet. I just need the food,” Fukutomi interjected.
“Oh, well yeah they have food, and toys and new homes so if your turtle is getting too big for his cage.”
Toudou clicked his phone shut and joined the rest of the team and said, “We can do your shopping after we do what we came here for.”
“Lead the way,” Shinkai replied.
Toudou started making his way through the bustling crowd as the rest of the team started following behind him. Between the Super Summer Sale and the people in Hakone for the summer music festival the mall was packed, which made it almost impossible for them to navigate through. Suddenly Arakita barked, “Hold up a second, Jinpachi!”
The time was ticking down to when the headband sale would be starting. Toudou didn’t think he could handle this. The perfect plan that he had concocted was crumbling before his eyes. When he came to his senses he only saw Arakita, Shinkai, and Fukutomi standing beside him. “Where are Izumida and Manami?”
“They must have gotten lost in the crowd,” Shinkai mumbled through the power bar in his mouth.
“Forget about them. They know where we are going. I’m sure they can just meet us there” Arakita waived the issue away.
“But they were supposed to help me,” Toudou exclaimed.
While they were standing around a buff man in front of a display board called out to Fukutomi, “Hey you, blond guy! You are the ace of the Hakone Academy road racing team, right?”
“We are all Aces,” Fukutomi responded.
“Would you want to be our spokesman just for today? It would be an honor. We are the vitamin shop that supplies top athletes with everything they need to become the strongest they can be.”
Fukutomi’s eyes grew wide, “The strongest athlete they can be?”
“So you want to do it,” the buff man asked.
“Sure I will help you.”
“Alright sweet! I’ll go get you a shirt you can go stand by our display board in front of the shop.”
As soon as the buff man left Arakita grabbed Fukutomi’s arm, “What the hell was that?”
“I will help other athletes become stronger, Arakita,” Fukutomi said seriously.
“Fuku, what about my headbands,” Toudou almost wailed.
“You have Shinkai.”
Arakita waved his hand in front of his blond captain’s face, “Asswipe, I’m right here.”
“You have to get food for turtle, because it does not seem like I will have time myself.”
“And why the hell would I do that.”
“Because you owe me one,” Fukutomi said in voice that could barely be heard over the roar of the mall.
“Then I am bringing Shinkai with me. He even said he almost got lost in there.”
“No, someone needs to go with Jinpachi. Shinkai go with him; while Arakita gets the turtle food, and once he is done he will rejoin you two.”
Shinkai nodded, “Alright, have fun, Juichi.”
Fukutomi disappeared into the crowd as Arakita glared after him. “What the fuck just happened,” Arakita growled.
“What do you owe him for,” Shinkai asked.
“Then don’t do it,” the redhead raised an eyebrow.
“Shut the hell up and tell me what side the damn turtle food is on.”
“Reptiles are on the right hand side in the middle of the store.”
Arakita pulled the powerbar from the redhead’s lips before kissing him. “Ew, you taste like fucking bananas,” the raven sneered and stuck the beloved powerbar back in his boyfriend’s mouth.
With that, Arakita disappeared into the crowd of people leaving the sprinter and climber alone. Toudou was looking hysterical. Shinkai held out an unopened power bar as an offering, but Toudou ignored it in favor of twisting his bangs furiously.
The two boys made their way to the headband store a few minutes late, and the chaos of headband hunting had already begun. Shinkai believed that it would not have been that serious of an event, but obviously he was wrong, as he watched a team of security guards rush into the building.
Toudou pressed the number one and speed dialed Makishima’s phone. The dark haired climber was sure he might cry, but he had to be strong for Makishima, “Maki-chan?”
“Well, I know this is hard to believe from someone as flawless as me, but I was late, so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get you that headband I promised you.” The tone in Toudou’s voice caught Makishima off guard. He wanted to say something, but like always the dark haired climber steamrollered on seemingly without breathing. “Anyway, Maki-chan, I just wanted to let you know how my morning was going.”
“Ah, yeah of course. Well, I’m sure you will figure it out because you always do, Jinpachi.”
“Thanks, Maki-chan,” Toudou closed his phone then turned to Shinkai, “Well let’s get in there.”
To Be Continued…
Chapter 2: What the Shell
Hope you enjoy!
Toudou is Queen obviously (￣▽￣)ノ Arakita can't say no to a cat, I know it-and no one can to me otherwise
Makishima was laying with his phone still in his hand. He was listening to the beeping of his phone that informed him that Toudou had hung up. In all the time that he had known each other, Makishima had only heard Toudou sound that depressed twice. Each time it felt like Makishima was the one suffering. Rolling out of bed, Makishima turned on his computer, pulled up the Internet, and started checking the Chiba Mall hours.
Makishima refused to let Toudou’s day, which he had been looking forward to, shatter around him. After writing down the hours, the green haired climber grabbed his keys and ran out the door. He quickly sent a text to Tadokoro informing him of his plans, hoping the sprinter would join him. Makishima glanced at the picture on his phone of him and Toudou when they had entered a tournament during their second year of high school.
Toudou had won the race and as a result Makishima had given him a headband, it wasn’t anything grand. Makishima didn’t know any headband etiquette so he didn’t know what he was doing in the first place, but he figured the thought would make the other boy happy. Instead of putting the headband on his head, Toudou started wrapping the white headband continuously around his finger. Once he was finished he flashed Makishima a huge grin, “Yes I, Toudou Jinpachi, the most beautiful climber that the mountains have ever had the honor of meeting, will marry you.”
Makishima recalled blinking blankly at the statement, “Are you going to do this every time I get you a new headband?” He sighed, “Toudou, it is just a headband.”
“I love me, too,” Toudou smiled happily hugging himself.
Brushing back a strand of hair behind his ear, Makishima shook his head, “I would have said it you know?”
“I love you,” the green haired climber quietly mumbled. He looked away as his cheeks burned.
Toudou looked at him with wide glassy eyes, “Really?”
Makishima softly replied, “Really.”
Toudou held up the headband to the sun, as if he was trying to catch it in a different light, “This is officially my new favorite ring!”
“It’s a headband,” Makishima couldn’t help but smile at Toudou with one of his genuine smiles as they left the road together.
The doorbell snapped Makishima out of his memories, and alerted him to Tadokoro’s arrival. Heading to the door, the climber met his teammate and they both got into his car driving towards the Chiba shopping mall.
Shoving people to the side, Arakita made his way through the mall. He stopped when he suddenly heard a familiar voice. The raven turned and looked around. On either side of him were two cosmetic stores, and between the shops was a thick cluster of people huddled around two tables. Inside the huddle Arakita could barely make out Izumida surrounded by a crowd of women. “What the hell is he doing in there?”
As the raven drew closer he could hear women asking, “How did you get your wings to stay like that?”
“Are those extensions,” another shouted.
“What product do you use?”
Both stores held up their products shouting over the crowd how it was the only way to get superior eyelashes as seen on their model, which apparently was Izumida.
Arakita watched as Izumida sat in the chair and answered everyone’s questions as they came up to him. “Eyelashes, is terrified but he is helping everyone. Ridiculous, I wonder if he knows where Manami is. Fuck it! My only job is to collect food for Fuku-chan’s stupid turtle, not go search for the underclassmen. They know where Toudou is if they don’t want to return that isn’t my fault.”
The only thing that the raven was looking forward to on this damn trip was the possibility of ‘getting lost’ with Shinkai. The thought of finding an abandoned location, crossed Arakita’s mind too. After that he would let Shinkai do whatever he wanted to do, and they could enjoy their time in the mall together. However, instead now he was at the fucking pet store: Shinkai-less.
Once he reached the store, Arakita recalled the redhead saying the turtle stuff was on the right hand side in the middle. Walking down the right side, Arakita found his way blocked off by a row of people, “Why are there so many damn people? Get your shit and go home.”
A female employee, who was red in the face, panted as she walked by holding a fidgeting puppy, “Hello, Welcome to Super Pet World. Today is the Summer Puppy Adoption Day. All Puppies are 50% off. Let me know if you need anything.” She smiled and rushed away as Arakita rolled his eyes.
“I don’t need her to find this shit. And I’ll be better than Shinkai and not get lost.”
Passing hamsters, rabbits, and ferrets Arakita frowned, “Was Shinkai telling me where the rabbits are?”
Deciding to take a sudden left, he noticed a woman at the end of the isle. Arakita decided he was going to ask her where the hell the turtle food was in this maze. He trotted over to her as she smiled, “You look like you need a cat in your life, young man.”
“I don’t need any more damn animals in my life. I already have a rabbit and his owner to watch over.”
The woman wasn’t listening as she shoved a black cat in Arakita’s arms, “Here you go.”
The cat looked at him with bored eyes. “Don’t look at me like that, you little shit,” he muttered. Clearly not listening, the cat rubbed against his arm and started purring. Arakita wasn’t completely heartless, and he chuckled, “This thing is kind of cute.” The woman smiled at him as Arakita lifted the cat it on his head and said to the employee, “Shinkai does this with his stupid rabbit.”
The cat’s tail wrapped around his face like a mustache, causing Arakita to laugh, “This one is a little shit, but he is a cute little shit.”
“Well, cats don’t go on sale until next week,” the woman noticed the raven’s Hakone bike jacket, “You go to Hakone Academy?”
“Yeah what about it?”
“I thought you looked familiar. You are on the Hakone road racing team, right?”
“I can give you a discount on this cat if you want him.”
“I never said that I want him.”
She raised an eyebrow, “Oh sorry for assuming.” She picked him off of Arakita’s head and said, “I hope you enjoy the rest of your shopping.”
“Fuck! Put him on hold for me… I’ll be back for his sorry ass next week when he is on sale. Rabbits and cats get along, right? Shinkai would kill me if this thing hurt the damn rabbit.”
“It’s all about how you raise him.”
Arakita picked up the cat again, “Don’t pick fights with the damn bunny unless I say so.” The cat just blinked at him, “Yep he is a good one. I’ll be back next week for your cheap ass.”
The woman smiled, “What’s your name?”
“Arakita Yasutomo.” The raven gave her all of his contact information and resumed his search for the mysterious turtle food.
“Where the fuck is the turtle crap,” Arakita almost screamed as he stared at the tanks of fish on the wall.
“Excuse me, sir, is there anything I could help you with today,” a young male staff member asked.
“Yeah, I need food for my stupid captain’s turtle.”
“Alright this way.”
Finally he arrived at the spot on the wall where the turtle food was, but to his dismay there were ten different food choices. Arakita slammed his hands on the rack, “Which one is the right one?”
The male employee that had showed him the way squatted down beside him, “Sir, do you know what kind of turtle you have?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well what does it look like maybe I can identify it from some characteristics.”
Getting annoyed with the employee for not telling him which one to buy Arakita growled, “I don’t know? It’s green. It has a hard shell. It’s a stupid turtle.”
The employee stared blankly at him in disbelief. Having enough, Arakita looked at the prices and grabbed the cheapest bag and held it up to the employee, “This won’t kill it right?”
“No, but that is for nursing turtles. I don’t think-”
“I’ve realized which one it is” Arakita cut him off, “Now which way to the line?”
Defeated, the employee weakly pointed Arakita in the direction of a line that made Arakita was to scream. Staring at the back of the woman’s head in front of him, Arakita swore he would get back to Shinkai today even if it killed him. Seeing as how his blood pressure was probably not at a healthy level right now death might be closer than he had first assumed.
By some miracle, Shinkai was able to find Toudou in the midst of the chaotic crowd that occupied the headband store. The redhead handed a headband to Toudou, who held it up and inspected it. Holding up the the yellow headband up triumphantly, the climber smiled. “Finally I have found another one. I knew someone as amazingly beautiful as myself could do it,” he boasted as he added the yellow headband to the small stash in his basket.
A sales associate’s voice echoed through the store, interrupting Toudou’s good spirits. “Fujiwara Sensei’s limited edition silver headband is now officially sold out. We are sorry for any inconvenience, but don’t be discouraged you can still get the other limited edition headbands. Thank you for shopping at the Headband Hut.”
Toudou’s thoughts were racing at the woman’s words. The limited edition silver headband was the third headband that he let slip through his fingers today. Had the manager not seen him when he walked in? Maybe he should leave and come back in? Toudou was genuinely confused. Why was the Headband Hut not handing him their products, since he he made headbands look this good? He twisted his bangs as he reasoned with himself. The Headband Hut did need to stay in business, so they couldn’t give away free things.
Looking at the girls raking through the boxes of headbands, the climber couldn’t believe that none of them were offering him any of the headbands that they found. They were probably still loyal to their last fanbase. It’s okay, Toudou could wait until they would become his loyal fans.
Shinkai shook the climber’s shoulders, snapping him out of his thoughts, “What do you want to do now?”
“I still have to get the headband for Maki-chan. The store still hasn’t announced that it has been sold out yet, I think the blue one is still available as well.”
With that, Shinkai dove back into the crowd and hunted for the two headbands in the bottomless containers. The girls on either side of him had a pink tint to their cheeks, and the redhead kindly pointed to the bin next to one of the girls, “Are you done looking?”
The girl nodded as her two friends made room for the sprinter. He plunged his arm into the bin. One of the girls next to him with timidly asked, “You wear Fujiwara Sensei’s headbands?”
Shinkai shook his head and flashed her a bright smile, “No my friend does. I’m just helping him find the limited editions ones.”
The two friends looked at him in awe and the second girl smiled, “You’re so sweet. What’s your name?”
“I’m Shinkai Hayato.”
The first friend gaped, “The ace sprinter from Hakone Academy?”
“If your friend likes Fujiwara Sensei’s headbands then he just has to have this one in his collection.” Shinkai gasped as the second girl held up the blue headband that Shinkai was currently hunting for. “Are you really seeing someone... or is that just a rumor?”
Rubbing the back of his neck Shinkai answered, “Yeah, I am currently seeing someone.”
“Of course all the cute sweet guys are always taken,” the second girl handed Shinkai the headband.
“Well it is nice meeting you,” the first girl smiled as she headed to the cash register with her friend.
Shinkai faintly heard the second girl say, “His girlfriend must be really patient.. I heard their training schedule is intense.”
Pulling out his phone, the ace sprinter realized he had no bars or messages. He scowled and stuffed his phone back in his pocket. Shinkai returned to looking through the box of headbands for the last of Jinpachi’s wishlist. Within a few seconds, his thoughts trailed to Arakita, he wondering what the raven was doing and if he had got lost in the pet store. A small smile crept across Shinkai’s face as he realized that he accidentally gave Arakita the directions to where the rabbits were located instead of the turtle food. “I wonder if he figured it out,” the redhead chuckled to himself as he dug a little deeper into the bin of headbands.
The line had barely inched forward since Arakita had joined, and behind him there was at least ten new people. Puppies were yapping, making the ace assistant sneer at the one closest to him in anger. This was why he liked cats, he was sure. The little shits were quiet and knew their place, but these puppies thought they owned the damn store. Finally the line moved forward, and Arakita winced when he saw how much further he still had to go until the register.
“Fuku-chan, once I get through this fucking line I will find your ass and I will hand you your stupid turtle food. Then I’m going to take that stupid tape from you.” He sighed, “Once Shinkai is out of the picture I will find some good dirt on you.. then you will ‘owe me one’ and I’ll make sure it is a shitty favor.”
“Next,” a cashier called in the distance.
“I’m coming for you, Fuku-chan, once I get the hell out of here.” Arakita’s lip twitched in excitement as he barked, “Oh my god, hurry the fuck up! I have shit to do!”
To be continued...
Chapter 3: Not for Lack of Effort
Arakita finally gets to the pet store check out, but refuses to pay full price. How can Shinkai not have a loyalty card with them? Does Arakita have to do everything? Meanwhile, Shinkai has to go to mall security...?
The girl beside Toudou pulled out the limited edition headband that he was planning on giving to Maki-chan. She yelled triumphantly and ran to the register. Toudou gaped are the her retreating form. How dare she not beg him to take that off her hands? Did she not know who he was? Obviously she was jealous of his superior charm, and Toudou could not blame her for her emotions. Who wouldn’t be? “How dare she be so selfish! That was a gift for Maki-chan!” Toudou pouted.
Toudou hurriedly tore through the bin where the girl had just discovered the headband, but he was just seeing the countless headbands that he already owned. He then heard Shinkai, who was opening another powerbar, return to his side, “Jinpachi, one of the girls gave me this.”
Toudou took the blue headband and his eyes quickly darted around the room, “Have you seen the one for Maki-chan?”
“No, but I can keep looking,” the sprinter nodded encouragingly.
An employee marched over to Shinkai and said, “I’m sorry but there is no food allowed in the store. If you wish to eat you must step outside. We can’t risk you getting food on the merchandise.”
Shinkai frowned as he rolled the powerbar up, he then tucked it away safely in his pocket. The redhead turned backback to Toudou, who was still frantically looking around the store. A sales associates voice rang through the store, “Fujiwara Sensei’s limited edition stripe and star headband is now officially sold out. We are sorry for any inconvenience. Thank you for shopping at the Headband Hut.”
Shinkai grabbed the climber’s arm, “Are you ok, Jinpachi?”
Toudou just watched as the girl that had taken the last headband strolled out of the store with her purchase. Throwing his headbands at Shinkai, Toudou followed the girl out of the store, “Excuse me.”
The girl turned and blushed, “You’re that boy that was next to me when I found Fujiwara Sensei’s limited edition headband right?”
“That’s me. My name is Toudou Jinpachi,” he put on his most charming smile, “Actually, I was wondering if I could have that headband.”
The girl frowned, “I’m sorry, but I have been searching all morning for this headband.”
“But I promised Maki-chan that I would get it for him.”
“I saw that you had other limited edition headbands, so why don’t you just give Maki-chan one of those?”
“Because I already promised him that I would give him that one” he pointed at her bag.
The girl clutched the bag close to her chest, “I’m sorry, but I cannot give this headband to you.” She bowed in apology then turned and disappeared into the crowded mall.
Toudou had lost. She was not wooed by his personality or his looks. She had just left with probably the most important thing that he had wanted today. His chest felt tight as he pulled out his phone. Toudou immediately noticed a long line of red text, that notified him that all of his previous text messages were never sent to Makishima due to lack of signal.
Ignoring the failed text messages, Toudou held down the number one. All he wanted was to hear Makishima’s cool and collective voice on the other end. Even though Makishima didn’t say much, Toudou always looked forward to their calls. Despite that, Toudou needed to just hear Makishima say something, anything. The phone rang for what felt like years, but Makishima never answered.
After he heard echoing beep of the answering machine, Toudou tried to sound like his normal enthusiastic self, but it was difficult when he really just wanted to go home. “Maki-chan, what are you doing? Why didn’t you pick up? I bet you’re eating ice cream. I know how you love sweet things like that, but you know that isn’t healthy for athletes like us. Anyways, I just wanted to let you know that I am going to the check out soon.” Toudou paused to collect himself, since he knew he sounded as hysterical as he felt.
“I guess even people as wonderful as me have to have bad days. I didn’t get all the headbands I was looking for, and I’m sorry I wasn’t about to get the headband for you Maki-chan... I’m really sorry.” Toudou’s voice was cracking as he tried to wrap the message up.
“That’s all I wanted to say.. so see you, Maki-chan,” he chimed and snapped his phone shut. He then closed his eyes and tried to gain some composure. Only Makishima could do this to him.
Turning back to the Headband Hut, he hesitantly entered to find Shinkai standing in the same spot, holding all the headbands that he had uncovered during their morning's expedition. “Hayato, let’s head to the cashier.”
The redhead nodded and they made their way to the rear of the store together. The duo checked out and walked out of the store, Toudou holding onto the small bag. Shinkai smiled, “Well that was fun, Jinpachi, thanks for inviting me.”
“Thanks for helping me, Hayato.”
“It’s no problem” he paused, “I wonder where everyone else is.”
As Shinkai reached for his phone, it started vibrating. He frowned, “An unknown number?”
Answering the call, Shinkai practically shouted into the phone in order to be heard over the roar of the mall, “Hello?”
“Hello, is this Shinkai Hayato?”
“Yes I am. Who is this?”
Toudou guided Shinkai someplace quieter as the voice on the other line answered, “I am an officer for the Hakone Mall Security. I am calling because I found your child and this is the number he gave me.”
“My child,” Shinkai questioned.
Toudou shrugged, “Maybe it’s Arakita playing a joke?”
The officer said, “Please come to Mall Security located on the second floor to retrieve your child. Thank you have a good day.”
The line went dead as Shinkai stared at his phone, “My child?”
“I guess we have to go,” Toudou said leading the way.
Shinkai pulled out his phone and texted Arakita, “Apparently I have to go pick up my child at mall security????”
Within a few seconds, he got another message saying that either his connection or Arakita’s was bad. Since Shinkai just received a phone call, the redhead figured that wherever Arakita was he didn’t have signal. Following behind Toudou, Shinkai entered the small office that was labeled Mall Security. Walking up to the front desk Shinkai said, “Excuse me, my name is Shinkai Hayato... I’m here to pick up my child.”
An officer walked out and said, “Well good to meet you. First off let me inform you of the charges. He was spotted running up and down the escalators, then he apparently stood in the elevator for several hours staring out the glass window overlooking the mall. He was apparently repeating how he felt so alive.” The officer sighed, “you need to watch your child better.”
The officer then turned and opened the door, which revealed Manami. The young climber lunged at Shinkai and Toudou and embraced them, “That was so wild, they just kidnapped me and told me that I needed to give them a person to contact like a parent or guardian.”
Shinkai said, “So you told them I was your parent.”
“Well I thought if anyone would come for me, it would be you.”
Toudou grabbed Manami’s ear, “You were supposed to be helping me today, and instead you rode the elevator up and down and ran all over the place.”
Manami hugged himself, “It was enlightening. You should try it, Toudou, you look a little stressed out.”
“I’m a mountain cyclist, I do not need the help of electricity get to higher places that is why they call me the-”
Manami turned to the police officer, “Is that it? Am I free to go?”
The officer nodded, “No more riding the elevator like that alright, kid.”
Finally reaching the cash register, Arakita slammed the turtle food down before the male employee. “Do you have petperks,” the employee groaned, his hand ready to type in the number.
Frustrated and confused Arakita asked, “What the hell is that?”
“It is the reward program for shopping here. If you have it then you can get a discount on the food, since it is on sale on with the membership.”
This was the first time Arakita had been to this store, but he knew that Shinkai was a loyal member to almost every damn pet store in Japan. “Can I give you a number and you look up my account.”
“Sure,” the employee exhaled.
His attitude was frustrating Arakita, who had stood in line for over an hour already. When the employee was finally ready Arakita told him Shinkai’s number, but no account came up. Arakita could not believe it that his boyfriend did not have a membership for this bigass petstore. The employee glanced at the line then at Arakita, “So do you just want me to ring up your purchase, or would you like to set up and account?”
Arakita was not going to waste anymore of his time if he didn’t have to, “How much would I save if I set up an account?”
“It will save you about six dollars.”
“Alright sign me up. I’m sure one of us will use it.” He sighed, “plus I’m buying that damn cat next week.”
The employee asked the raven a series of questions for the membership application. After he finished typing in the information, he read the completed application. After he finished, Arakita almost screamed, “The phone number is wrong.”
“That was the number you gave me before,” the employee said defensively.
“Yeah but it isn’t mine, so change it.”
“Alright, but that means I will have to restart the entire thing over again.”
“What kind of system are you running here. Do you think I have all fucking day to sit here and hang out with you? Just because you have to work doesn’t mean I have to suffer with you. Leave the number.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes just ring this shit up. I need to get out of here before I turn into one of those crazy cat ladies.”
As the employee scanned the barcode, Arakita pulled money out of his pocket and dropped it next to the register. Not bothering to wait for change, he immediately grabbed the bag and headed for the door. He cursed to himself, “Fuck me, I’m just came here to pick up some food, and I’m already turning into a crazy cat lady. Where the hell is Shinkai?”
Shinkai, Toudou, and Manami headed down the stairs as Izumida rushed forward out of nowhere and hugged Shinkai, “I don’t know what to do, those women keep asking me questions and I don’t want to be mean, but I don’t know how much longer I can be their model.”
Shinkai smiled, “So this is what you have been doing? It’s alright once we get everyone we are heading home.”
Izumida looked at Shinkai wide eyed, “So did you complete your goal, Shinkai-san?”
“We got most of them, but I’m sure if we had all of them that Toudou would be much happier.”
“Oh,” Izumida frowned, “If only I had stayed to help like I was supposed to then maybe-”
“-you helped here right? Then it is okay, Izumida, as long as you helped someone then your time was well spent.”
“Shinkai-san,” Izumida’s eyes widened.
The redhead’s phone started to vibrate in his pocket. Shinkai smiled at the name as he answered, “Yes, Yasutomo?”
“Hayato, where the fuck are you?”
“Nice to hear your voice too. Well I finished with Toudou, and had to go pick Manami up from Mall Security-”
“-and I just found Izumida.”
“Stay there I’ll be there in a second.” True to his word, Arakita appeared behind Shinkai with the turtle food in his hand. He threw it at Manami and said, “Hold this and don’t run away. Sometimes I feel like I should put you on a leash.”
Shinkai turned his attention to the raven, “So how was the pet store?”
“You led me to the rabbits.”
“Yeah I figured that out afterward, sorry.”
“How can you not have a membership card with such a big pet store?”
Shinkai frowned, “I do.”
“I gave them your number and nothing came up.”
“Oh yeah I used your number, that was when I was having issues with my phone.”
“WHAT THE FUCK, HAYATO!”
A few people around them turned and gave Arakita a dirty look. Shinkai smiled and wrapped his arms tightly around Arakita’s waist, used to his boyfriend’s antics. He littered kisses from Arakita’s ear down his neck, “Have you revived any weird texts?”
Pushing Shinkai away, Arakita groaned,“No, okay stop.”
Izumida interjected, “Where is Fukutomi-san?”
“He was recruited by a vitamin store, so we have to go get him,” Toudou muttered halfheartedly.
“MANAMI,” Arakita snapped his head around to notice the absentminded climber starting to wonder off by himself.
Once they regrouped, the five cyclists made their way through the mall until they reached the vitamin store. Fukutomi was still standing outside and greeted his teammates. Arakita grabbed the Turtle food from Manami’s hands and tossed it to Fukutomi, “There.”
Fukutomi delved into to his bag and handed Arakita the disk. The raven whispered, “There are no copies correct?”
“I am an honest man, Yasutomo.”
“Well you are also a man that is leaving, Fuku-chan, it’s time to go.”
Fukutomi turned the people working the shop, “It has been an honor making other athletes stronger with you.”
The employee nodded, “Feel free to stop by again whenever you feel like it.”
“Thank you, I shall come back soon.”
Izumida turned to Toudou as they headed to the bike rack, “So what are you going to do about the headbands that you didn’t get, Toudou-san?”
“There is nothing that I can do except wait and hope that maybe they show up later, but they probably won’t.” He sighed, “Fujiwara Sensei’s limited Edition is a first come first serve deal.”
“I’m sorry, Toudou,” Manami said unlocking his bike as he took up the lead.
The wind felt good as it gently caressed Toudou’s face, and the hill wasn’t a hard climb for him. For some reason Toudou still felt empty, and as the sun started to sink on the day he had been looking forward to, he half hoped it would just end already. His perfect plan had shattered and he had not accomplished all that he had intended to. Maybe sleep would settle this feeling of uneasiness.
To be Continued
Chapter 4: Beautiful Spider
Shinkai feels sorry for Toudou, but Makishima has arrived to comfort him.
The Hakone Academy cycling team pulled into the school just as the gentle glow of twilight filled the campus. They locked their bikes to the rack, except Fukutomi who said that he would be returning to his family’s house for the rest of the weekend. Arakita took this as an immediate invitation to head over to Shinkai and Fukutomi’s dorm after saying his goodbyes to Toudou. The underclassmen dispersed, leaving Toudou alone in his thoughts as he walked to his dorm and unlocked the door.
His side of the room was organized, while Arakita’s side was a mess of clothes, books, and other things that had been thrown around. Placing the bag of headbands on his desk, Toudou curled into a ball on his bed. He knew Makishima was disappointed in him for promising to get him a headband and not delivering, and now he was ignoring Toudou. Darkness invaded the climbers thoughts as he wondered if this day could get any worse.
Down the hall, Shinkai was stretched out on his bed with his head on Arakita’s lap. The raven was slowly running his fingers through red locks. “Yasutomo, do you think that Jinpachi is going to be alright? Didn’t you think he seemed really down?”
“He needs to man up. If he is going to get so emotionally destroyed over a couple headbands, I can’t believe that he is strong enough to climb a damn mountain.”
“He was upset because he didn’t get the headband that he was going to give to Makishima.”
“What do you want to do? Go and cheer him up,” Arakita suggested jokingly.
Shinkai excitedly sat up and pulled Arakita’s lips to his for an instant, “You’re a genius, Yasutomo!” In an instant, the redhead was pulling on his jacket and leaving a bewildered Arakita alone on the bed.
“Where the fuck are you going?”
“Come on, we have to go cheer Jinpachi up,” Shinkai smiled and held out a warm, calloused hand for his boyfriend.
Opting out of accepting the redhead’s hand, Arakita crossed his arms, “I know you’re worried, but I think he wants to be alone right now. Maybe he should just call his ‘Maki-chan’ and get over it,” imitating Toudou’s voice when he called Makishima’s pet name.
“Fine I’ll just go.”
Shinkai started to head to the door, but the raven grabbed him around the waist and pulled the larger sprinter into his lap, “Stop being such a goody-goody and let him figure it out himself.”
Shinkai lips started to bubble with laughter, which made Arakita’s heart flutter as the redhead halfheartedly struggled to free himself. Without warning, the sprinter pushed Arakita backwards onto the mattress. Pinned between Shinkai’s warm frame and the soft mattress Arakita did the only possible thing he could think to escape his current predicament. He kissed Shinkai who was already panting from their little struggle.
Arakita had waited all day for Shinkai, and finally he had him. Arakita tongue was welcomed in Shinkai’s mouth as the redhead tilted his head to deepen the kiss. The raven felt hands start to roam under his shirt as their tongues battled each other for dominance. Suddenly the battle was over and the strong hands that were creeping under Arakita’s shirt vanished. Shinkai pulled away from their kiss, and he placed his finger on the raven’s lips and winked, “We can continue this after we go see how Jinpachi is doing.”
“Ugh fine let’s hurry the fuck up,” Arakita shoved the pleased looking redhead off him as he pulled on his jacket and headed to the door.
“Yasutomo, you should control your temper,” Shinkai teased, as he playfully wrapped an arm around his boyfriend’s shoulder.
Begrudgingly, Arakita opened the dorm door to the main hallway to see a flash of green hair pass by. Shinkai and Arakita stood in the doorway looking at each other in confusion, trying to comprehend the strange sight that they had just seen. All of a sudden, Shinkai turned around and headed back into his room, while Arakita and silently closed the door. Together they rushed to the window, and watched the lanky green haired figure knock on Toudou and Arakita’s dorm door.
The raven was very much aware of the fact that his boyfriend was breathing down his neck, as he craned his head like an overexcited child trying to see what was happening down the hall. Finally Toudou opened the door as Shinkai shook Arakita’s shoulders, “This is great! I don’t think that we will have to comfort him now.”
“Thank God,” Arakita mumbled under his breath.
Choosing to ignore his boyfriend, Shinkai ran to his desk draw and pulled out a stack of menus from nearby restaurants that delivered, “I don’t think it would be good if they saw us leave. That might ruin the mood. What do you want to eat, Yasutomo, my treat.”
“Hi, can I come in... if you aren’t busy?”
Toudou stepped to the side, “Of course.”
Makishima walked in as an awkward silence quickly fell between the two of them. Toudou smiled, since he was ecstatic that Makishima had initiated something, and that he had come to visit him in Hakone. Just having the green haired climber here with him should be enough, but the guilt that had been filling his gut since the store was crashing down on him. Toudou watched as Makishima leaned against his desk and shyly asked, “How did the shopping go?”
“Did you not get my voicemail,” Toudou replied, his brows furrowed together.
Makishima looked out the window, “My phone died, and I haven’t been able to charge it, so I haven’t received any messages since this morning.”
Red crept across the raven’s face as he softly said, “Maki-chan.” Makishima looked at him and waiting for the climber to continue talking. The Sohoku climber seemed surprised and a bit confused at the silence that followed. Of course he is confused, Toudou reminded himself that Maki-chan had no idea the hell he had put himself through at the mall for the last few hours.
“What’s wrong, Jinpachi?”
Pressing a fist to his forehead, Toudou tried to gain some composure, but he only felt his face getting hotter. He realized this conversation was much easier over the phone, and it was becoming increasingly more difficult in person. Toudou inhaled then turned to Makishima, “Maki-chan, I’m sorry I wasn’t able to get you the headband I promised.”
A twisted smile crossed Makishima’s face, “That’s why you are so upset?”
“I know I promised you. I know it’s all my fault, but please don’t think that I am a liar. Please don’t say that you don’t want to talk to me either because I don’t think I could do that. I look forward to talking to you and I love talking to you. I’m so sorry Maki-chan… please don’t be mad. I need you, Maki-chan.”
Tears had welled up in Toudou’s eyes since he started rambling, and Makishima held out the bag that he had been carrying, “I’m not mad, and I don’t want to stop talking either.” The raven stared at him wide eyed as Makishima continued, “Today I went to the mall in Chiba because I figured it would be less packed and picked up the headbands that you told me about.” Nervously Makishima twisted the end of a green strand of hair, “In case you didn’t get any. If you got them already I can return them-”
Toudou took the bag and searched through it to find every headband that he had hoped to get that day. “Maki-chan, you’re amazing” he felt a smile cross his face.
“I can’t believe you just said someone beside yourself was amazing.”
Suddenly back to his normal cheerful self, Toudou hopped onto his bed, “Well it is a given that I am amazing, but you wouldn’t believe it so I have to lay it out for you.” Makishima blushed at his words as Toudou frowned suddenly, “Wait Maki-chan you can’t give these to me because I wanted to give this one to you.”
“Well they all belong to you now, so give it to me.”
“You paid for it so I don’t think it works like that,” Toudou hummed and looked down at the headbands that were strewn across his bed. Makishima held out a hand, not looking directly at the other climber. Following his lead, Toudou handed him the promised headband, “I the wonderful and honest Toudou Jinpachi have obtained this headband that you are so lucky to be receiving on this day. I shall be giving it to you as promised.”
Toudou handed the headband to Makishima who flushed, “Thank you. Now I have a gift for you too, so close your eyes.” With nervous excitement, the raven sat waiting and wondering what Makishima would give him. “Could you extend your hand?” Toudou happily complied and extended both hands, wondering what his darling Maki-chan had gotten him. The thought of Makishima going out of his way to get him something almost made him sigh of happiness and melt into a puddle.
As he was waiting in silence, Toudou realized that Makishima had already gone out of his way for him today. Toudou felt the other climber grab his hand, but the raven was already lost in his train of thought. Makishima had gone to the mall in Chiba, fought off the crowds, found every headband on his list, then he had taken the two hour bullet train ride to him so that he could personally deliver them to Toudou tonight. Warmth radiated through his chest and he itched to give Makishima a hug because he was being unbelievably cute.
“Okay you can open your eyes,” Makishima suggested quietly.
Toudou opened his eyes and saw that his hands were empty. He then noticed right ring finger, the headband that he just given Makishima was wrapped around it. Memories from the time Toudou had done something similar, flooded his memory. He couldn’t help but smile, “Maki-chan, thank you.” Toudou gently kissed Makishima’s cheek as they sat next to each other on the bed. Toudou examined the ‘ring’ filling the room with his voice, “I think this is my favorite ring so far, Maki-chan.”
“Toudou, it is just a headband.”
“No it’s a ring see I’m wearing it on my hand not my head. I mean I’m sure it would look fabulous either way that I wore it.”
The sound of Toudou’s chatter filled the room as the raven examined all the headbands, asking Makishima for his opinion, and listened excitedly before plucking another one up. Somehow, when Toudou came up for air, Makishima was able to add something to the conversation. Time passed quickly when Makishima was with Hakone’s ace climber. Checking his watch, Makishima stood up. He wanted Toudou to ask him to stay, but right now the raven was flipping through a fashion magazine, barely able to keep his eyes open.
“I think that I am going to head back. It’s a two hour trip, and...yeah,” Makishima trailed off meekly. Toudou watched him head out the front door before he actually registered that Makishima was leaving.
“Maki-chan, wait,” Toudou scrambled off his bed, barely able to grab his keys before he ran out the door. “Maki-chan!” The lanky green haired climber was nowhere in sight, so Toudou starting running down the hallway calling, “Maki-chan!” He sighed, “Where did he go?” The ace climber started sprinting down the stairs and ran out of the dorms, his heart hammering. People were calling his name, but nothing mattered right now, except finding Makishima.
He wildly searched for that long, completely brushable, head of green hair, but he couldn’t see it. His earlier fatigue was forgotten as panic started to settle deep within his stomach. Manami walked passed in his normal daze, and Toudou grabbed his shoulders, “Manami, have you seen Maki-chan?”
Manami nodded, “Oh yeah I did see him. He is the one with green hair, right?”
“His bike was locked up with ours by the club room so maybe he went to go get it before he heads to the station?”
“Are you ok,” Manami called to Toudou’s retreating frame.
“I’m fine,” the raven lied. Toudou knew his voice sounded almost hysterical, but he needed to get back to Makishima. His thoughts were racing faster than his feet, which were heavily pounding on the pavement as he headed to the club room. Why did Toudou need to get back to him so badly? Was it to say goodbye? To thank him for the headbands? No, Toudou just needed to see him, his Maki-chan.
Makishima had just arrived outside of the Hakone Academy cycling club room and started to head to the bike rack to retrieve his bike, when Toudou suddenly sprinted around the corner. “MAKI-CHAN!” Makishima turned to face Toudou who suddenly catapulted himself into Makishima’s arms. After wrapping his legs around the taller climbers waist, Toudou’s arms encircled themselves around Makishima’s neck, pulling him into a kiss.
Caught by surprise, Makishima staggered back, but regained his footing as he gently caressed the raven’s back in an effort to make sure he wouldn’t fall. Makishima could feel how fast Toudou’s heart was hammering against his chest. The raven’s tongue sought entrance, and since Makishima couldn’t refuse Toudou anything, he surrendered willfully.
Subconsciously, Makishima found his hands clutching Toudou’s shirt, unable to let go of the person that was most dear to him. When Toudou broke their kiss, the sheer proximity of their faces made the taller of the two fear there wouldn’t be enough oxygen between the two of them. The raven lowered his legs back to the ground and softly said, “Don’t leave me because I love you, Maki-chan.”
In response, Makishima could only clutch Toudou tightly, “Then I’ll stay.” He then leaned down and whispered in Toudou’s ear, “I love you, Jinpachi.”
A blush crept across Toudou’s face as he stood completely dazed by Makishima’s confession. The raven then took Makishima’s hand and grinned, “Let’s head back then.” Makishima looked down and smiled when he noticed the headband still securely sitting on Toudou’s finger as they headed back to his room.
To be Continued
Chapter 5: Stakeout Snacks
Hosting a stakeout to make sure that your best friend/roommate's relationship with Makishima is going alright is a taxing task. To compensate Shinkai and Arakita order pizza, and Shinkai being the bottomless pit that he is eats everything. Somehow the food bill includes a cake and leads to two idiots cuddling.
Some Shameless Shinara Food and cuddling fluff because I'm weak when it comes to them (what else is new)
A knock on the door forced Shinkai leave his comfortable position leaning on Arakita. He jumped out of bed and opened the door to find the delivery man. Shinkai was beaming as he paid the employee. He quickly took the food from the delivery man before closing the door. “You are ridiculous... you are too happy about getting shitty takeout.”
“I love food,” Shinkai smiled as he opened the pizza box and grabbed the biggest slice.
“Hey why don’t you get a plate before you get it all over the place,” Arakita retorted, throwing a paper plate at the redhead.
“Thanks, this is for you” Shinkai winked and handed his crust to Arakita as he reached for another slice with his other hand.
Arakita let the crust dangle out of his mouth, “Shit could you let me at least let me get my first piece before you start handing me your damn scraps.” Reaching into the box, the raven grabbed a piece for himself and threw another piece at the ravenous beast that was his boyfriend, since the redhead was almost done with his second.
“Yeah whatever.” Just as Arakita started to settle on the floor next to Shinkai, the redhead jumped to attention. This caused the raven to let out growl, “What the hell are you doing?”
“I have to feed Usakichi,” Shinkai grabbed the lettuce out of his fridge and headed to his rabbit’s cage. The redhead gently patted his rabbit as she nibbled on the lettuce. Shinkai turned to Arakita beaming, “Aren’t rabbits so cute when they wiggle their nose.”
Arakita looked blankly at his boyfriend, “God damn adorable.”
Pouncing on the floor next to his boyfriend, the redhead nuzzled Arakita’s cheek, “They just wiggle their nose to show that they are happy and that they love you.” Then Shinkai gently pressed a kiss to the raven’s jaw.
Arakita ran his fingers through the gentle waves of red hair that surrounded Shinkai’s face, “I guess the nose thing is cute.” Their lips brushed for an instant, but the sound of a door closing reminded them of the Toudou situation. Both of them sprinted to the window to see Makishima blushing and shaking his head as he headed down the hallway. Shinkai rested his head on Arakita’s shoulder, “Do you think Toudou is ok or-”
“-he is fine. They probably just made out and now and they just need to cool down because it was so hot,” Arakita stated as he turned back and picked up his pizza, hoping he could finish it before it got cold or before Shinkai stole it. (And the Latter was more likely if Arakita knew his boyfriend)
“Yasutomo, we should go a check on him,” Shinkai playfully bit the raven’s ear as they settled next to the pizza box.
The rest of Arakita’s works were cut off at the sound of Toudou’s door slamming and his screaming of, “Maki-chan!” They heard Toudou run down the hallway, still screaming after the other climber.
Arakita had made his way to the window within seconds of hearing the door open. After Toudou disappeared from view he said, “I can’t believe I have to live with this guy. Do you see the shit he puts me through. Like living in a damn soap opera every fucking day MAKI-CHAN this MAKI-CHAN that. I just want to live in peace, but he NEVER STOPS TALKING.”
Arakita turned to where his boyfriend should have been, but he was stunned that Shinkai wasn’t right behind him, but instead the sprinter was still sitting by the pizza boxes. He had the remaining five slices all stacked on top of each other, and was already in the process of devouring them. “HAYATO, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING!”
Chewing the monstrous bite that he just consumed the redhead said, “So what happened?”
“Don’t you fucking ‘what happened’ me you are eating the rest of the pizza yourself,” Arakita swore and grabbed fistfuls of Shinkai’s shirt.
With a guilty smile, Shinkai finished off the pizza stack he had created. He then handed Arakita the crust as the raven’s stomach growls, “I’m sorry, Yasutomo, we can order another one and I won’t eat as much.” Arakita had to hold back his laughter, because Shinkai was implying that he was not done eating yet. Since the raven had remained silent, the sprinter continued to try and find a way to remedy his boyfriend’s empty stomach, “Well I know the owner of the pizza place so if I give him a call-”
“How do you know him?”
“Well I visited all the time and he commented on how much I ate, and I told him I could eat so much more, but I just couldn’t pay for it. As a deal he said if I could eat five pies by myself then he would give me a discount as long as I am his loyal customer.”
“No you didn’t.”
“I always get a discount.”
“Hayato, you amaze me.” Arakita smirked, “I guess if you’re that good of friends with them you can call, but remember it is still your treat.”
Shinkai laughed and dialed the number for the pizza shop. After a few minutes speaking on the phone, he turned to Arakita and said, “Well the pizzeria is really busy right now, so he suggested that we should get something from his wife’s bakery. I ordered us a cake and she said it wasn’t too busy so it should be here soon.”
“Do you have any discounts there.”
The sprinter’s ears burned red, “No this shop is new.”
“Give it time I’m sure you will have a discount soon enough.”
Arakita didn’t have much time to tease Shinkai before there was a knock at the door and a girl stood holding a medium size box, “Delivery!”
Shinkai paid her and took the box before closing the door and Arakita said, “Not too bad and it has strawberries on top too.”
“It looks delicious.”
Blocking his boyfriend’s view, Arakita cut himself a hefty piece and mumbled, “I better get my piece first, knowing you, or there won’t be any left.”
As the raven looked up, his heart lurched at the adorable pout that had settled over Shinkai’s features. Arakita handed a fork to Shinkai , who quickly dove into the cake.
Shinkai’s smile seemed to fill the room as the two of them sat on the bed together. Scooping up a piece, he held it in front of Arakita’s mouth, “Open up, Yasutomo.”
“That’s fucking huge cut it in half. I don’t swallow a whole slice of cake like you.”
Shinkai cut the cake,then presented his boyfriend with the new piece. Arakita opened his mouth and waited, but Shinkai partially missed his mouth and ended up smearing icing on parts of his cheek. Narrowing his eyes, the raven asked, “Do you not know how to feed someone else cake?”
“This would actually be my first time,” Shinkai laughed and picked up another piece. Once again, Shinkai missed and got icing on Arakita’s face. The next attempt wasn’t much better either, since the cake never even made into his boyfriend’s mouth. He accidently dropped the cake piece on the raven’s lap. Shinkai’s only response for all these failed attempts was a joyous smile and a few laughs.
The redhead was obviously having a grand time, but Arakita was getting frustrated. Reaching over, Arakita dug his fingers into the cake box and scooped some icing up. He threw the frosting at Shinkai, who laughed happily and wiped it off his own face then licked the frosting off his fingers. “Yum, this is delicious,” the redhead declared as he looked up to the ceiling.
Finally, Shinkai managed to get some cake into Arakita’s mouth without dropping it or getting all over him. “I did it,” Shinkai smiled as he stuffed the next slice into his mouth.
“Hayato, stop eating my cake!”
Arakita reached for the cake and closed the distance between them. Shinkai quickly licked the icing off the raven’s cheek, which caused Arakita to freeze for a moment. His eyes widened as he watched Shinkai slowly licked off another glob of frosting from his cheek. He couldn’t stop the shudder that rippled down his spine. The sprinter used his one free hand, that wasn’t holding the cake, to draw lazy circles on his boyfriend’s neck.
Arakita knew from the first time he had ever embraced Shinkai, that he would be the one. The one that could make him melt into a puddle and say stupid things like ‘I love you’. For some reason, no matter how much Arakita had swore at him, and promised he would pound his stupid redhead in, Shinkai would laugh and continue to stay by his side. The redhead was constantly taking care of animals, and for some reason, Shinkai thought he could handle a wolf.
The raven couldn’t suppress his stunned gasp as Shinkai started littering kisses up and down his neck. His heart was beating rapidly out of lust, joy, and could that be..nervousness? But he was with Shinkai. The raven was always nervous that his happiness would be short lived, or Shinkai would realize that he really was a horrible person. The redhead pulled him out of his thoughts with a whisper, “Yasutomo, don’t ever change, okay? I love you just the way you are.”
Arakita lunged forward and hugged Shinkai, which startled the redhead, “Um, Yasutomo-”
“Just shut up for a second and let me hug you,” Arakita mumbled into Shinkai’s neck.
“But you’re getting cake all over us.”
Releasing the sprinter, Arakita noticed the icing stain covering their stomachs, “See we wouldn’t have had this problem with fucking pizza.” Removing the plate with the crushed cake from between them, Arakita mentally made a note to never to leave something so messy between them again. “We better get out of these shirts.” Arakita groaned and walked over to the drawer he knew held shirts, then threw one at the sprinter, who was currently stealing a strawberry off Arakita’s slice of cake. Pulling out one of his own shirts from the drawer, Arakita swapped out his stained one for a clean one.
“You can just throw the dirty one in my wash and I’ll clean in,” Shinkai said through a mouthful of strawberries.
Settling down on the mattress, the raven grabbed his boyfriend’s cheeks, “Who said you could eat my strawberry you little shit?”
“I thought you were done,” Shinkai answered, biting his lush bottom lip after swallowing the strawberry.
The sound of footsteps caused them both to jump to their feet and rush to the window. Toudou and Makishima were walking together towards his dorm room. The ace climber was chatting the other climber’s ear off. Arakita shook his head, “I guess even Toudou was able to catch him.”
Arakita crossed his arms, “Well I guess I’ll have to stay over here and scout with you to see if Makishima stays over at my place or if he sneaks out in the middle of the night.”
Shinkai raised his eyebrows as he continued to bite his lip, “That will be interesting won’t it.”
Arakita leaned forward and bit Shinkai’s lip, “Stop teasing me, Hayato.”
“Sorry, I didn’t realize it.”
“Sure, you didn’t.” Arakita rolled his eyes and brought their mouths together, his hands then tangled into red hair.
“Are you eating right, Yasutomo,” Shinkai asked as he ran his hands up and down his boyfriend’s slender hips.
“Seeing how you eat everything in sight and I live with a health nut, I’m surprised that I haven’t died yet.”
Before Shinkai could say anything else, Arakita silenced him with a kiss, which stole the redhead’s breath away. He could never stand kissing the redhead for too long, before a moan sounded in the back of his throat. “I think this is where we were earlier,” Shinkai smiled and ran his hand under Arakita’s shirt. The back of the raven’s calves brushed against Shinkai’s bed, and before he knew what was happening, he was tumbling onto the mattress with Shinkai on top of him.
“That fucking hurt,” he growled, rubbing his head.
“Let me kiss it and make it better,” the redhead joked and starting littering kisses on Arakita’s head.
“Enough get off of me.”
Shinkai laughed then cuddled close to Arakita, a smile gently resting on his face, “I love you, Yasutomo.”
Like hell Shinkai was going to make him say it, Arakita thought. Closing his eyes, Arakita allowed himself to be enveloped in the smell of Shinkai that was surrounding him. The redhead soon drifted off to sleep with one of his arms possessively wrapped around his boyfriend. Listening to the gentle rhythm of the redhead’s breathing, Arakita laid awake.
After a few minutes Shinkai rolled over, taking most of the blankets with him, and turned his back to the raven. Already missing the redhead’s warmth, Arakita snuggled up behind him, sliding his arm between Shinkai’s chest and his arm. All of a sudden, Shinkai’s hand closed over the raven’s smaller one and pulled Arakita’s arm closer to his chest. Arakita kissed the patch of bare skin that he could distinguish between Shinkai’s shirt collar and his hair on the back of his neck.
Although he was half asleep, Shinkai was able to hear the softest whisper of ‘I love you, Hayato’. The redhead smiled as both he and Arakita drifted off to sleep.
To Be Continued
Chapter 6: A Kiss and A Deal
A week has passed since the Hakone team went to the mall together, and they are settling back into their daily routines again. But Toudou is suddenly called to see Fukutomi at the club room to discuss something. And Arakita has finally picked up his cat from the pet store, but do cats and rabbits actually get along?
This is the last chapter (more like an epilogue) but it was fun to write. The plot circled back to the first chapter which is always like "say what" anyway enough of my silliness- I hope you enjoy
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
One week had passed since the Hakone team’s escapade at the mall. Toudou nervously headed down to the club room and he voiced his worries to Makishima over the phone, “I mean I understand that everyone wants to spend time with me, but I don’t understand why suddenly Fuku-chan is realizing what an amazing teammate he has.”
“Are you sure that you didn’t do something wrong,” Makishima suggested.
“Maki-chan,” Toudou fained dismay, “How could you say such a thing? I have never done anything immoral, illegal, or unjust. Unless it is against the law to be this good looking,” he laughed at his own joke. “Well I’m almost at the club room, so hopefully this will be done soon and we can maybe do something later.”
“Yeah, I’ll call you later.” After a beat of silence Makishima quietly added, “I love you, Jinpachi.”
Toudou immediately stopped walking and felt his face start to burn. Makishima had beaten him to say ‘I love you’, he had called Toudou by his first name, and he said he would call later.
“I’m here. Thanks, I look forward to your call, Maki-chan. I love you too.”
“Bye, Maki-chan,” Toudou shut his phone and felt his heart racing, so many firsts just happened.
Hoping that the red evaporated from his cheeks and ears, Toudou slowly entered the club room. Fukutomi was standing close to the entrance with his arms crossed, “Jinpachi, how was your evening last Saturday?”
“Give me a second to check my calendar, and I can give you the highlights,” Toudou began to pull out his phone but paused, “Wait you said last Saturday?”
“Well, that was the day that the team went to the mall together,” he pointed as his headband as if to remind Fukutomi.
“I recall, but what did you do that evening?”
“Oh! Maki-chan came by and gave me all the headbands I missed during the sale, and then we started dating,” Toudou smiled and clasped his hands together.
“Then maybe you could explain why I was called down to security when I returned to school.”
“Fuku-chan, I told you that messing with Arakita when he is angry will lead to nothing but trouble,” Toudou patted his captain’s shoulder understandingly, “It’s alright you cannot be as flawless as me.”
“Jinpachi, I was called in because you and Makishima were recorded making out in front of the club room by the security camera.”
Toudou’s mouth fell open as his hand flew to his head in shock, “What? Are you sure? Fuku-chan, you have to be messing with me! This is impossible!”
Fukutomi held out a disk, “I have the evidence right here.” Fukutomi knew that Toudou would not handle this like Arakita. The theatrics were part of Toudou’s charm, at least that was what Fukutomi remind himself, as Toudou continued questioning how it was possible in baffled confusion. “Jinpachi, if you don’t want me to share this with anyone else, you owe me a favor.”
Toudou honestly didn’t mind if it was shared with everyone, but then he wondered if Makishima would be okay with that. “Fine, what do you want?”
“I’ll let you know when I need something.”
Toudou’s phone suddenly started buzzing, “Fuku-chan, look at this Maki-chan is calling me first!”
“If you don’t want it to go to voicemail you better pick it up,” Fukutomi shook his head as Toudou ran out of the club room.
“Maki-chan! Of course I'll meet you in Chiba. Then it is a race to the top of the hill,” Toudou chatted on the phone.
Arakita growled as he was almost run over by Toudou, “Watch where you are fucking going, asshole.”
Shinkai reached and scratched behind the ear of the black cat cradled in Arakita’s arm, “I cannot believe that you got a cat at the pet store, Yasutomo.”
“Hopefully Toudou is allergic.”
Shinkai elbowed him and smiled, “Stop he was just excited that things worked out. Aren’t you happy for him?”
“I guess that I would rather have a happy Jinpachi than one that is crying all the time.” Arakita fell into step beside Shinkai, and he looked over at Usakichi. The rabbit could barely be held in the redhead’s arms anymore, “How can you carry that thing around it’s huge.”
Shinkai nuzzled Usakichi playfully, “Don’t listen to Yasutomo he doesn’t understand the joys of carrying his little baby around.”
“That rabbit is as big as a damn child.”
The two of them decided to sit beneath a blooming sakura tree. Once they sat down, Arakita’s cat brushed up against Usakichi and purred; Usakichi wiggled her nose happily in response. Shinkai smiled as he watched their pets mingle. He then decided to rest his head on his boyfriend’s shoulder. The wind sent the sakura blossoms into the air as Arakita broke the comfortable silence between them, “Hey, Hayato.”
Shinkai hummed in response, and sat up to face his boyfriend. Arakita cupped his cheeks, so they were looking at each other, a faint blush visible on the raven’s ears, “I love you.”
Shinkai smiled, in all the time that he had dated Yasutomo, the raven had never said ‘I love you’ loud enough for Shinkai to hear or when he thought Shinkai was listening. The redhead had never pressured him, because he knew that when Arakita was ready, he would say what he was really feeling. Shinkai felt choked up and couldn’t stop the tear that slipped down his cheek, “I love you too, Yasutomo.”
Arakita smiled, “Don’t cry.”
“Then stop doing stuff that makes me cry,” Shinkai gently pushed the raven’s chest.
Arakita closed the distance between their lips and he pulled Shinkai close. The Sakura blossoms continued to fall around Hakone Academy.
I've finally finished! I'm really corny and end it with the cliché "i love you" but what else is new. Thank you all who have been reading this fic since the beginning, and those that just joined. I hope you all liked reading it as much as I liked writing it.