A loud, obnoxious buzzing accompanied by the tone he’d set as his ringtone for Yuuki cut through Shougo’s sleep. He squeezed his eyes tighter shut in annoyance. Untangling an arm from the blankets, he twisted around and scrabbled blearily for his cell vibrating on the nightstand. As soon as his fingers found purchase on the device, he curled them around it and pressed answer, bringing it to his ear and rolling back over comfortably onto his side. “Nn’d’you want, Hase?” he mumbled through the sleep still thick in his mouth.
He was greeted only with the quiet sound of soft, shuddering breathing interspersed with the occasional tiny hiccup on the other end of the line. Worried, he sat up, bracing himself with his free hand. “Yuuki?” He blinked his eyes open and focused on the glowing red numbers of the clock on his bedside table. Just after one o’ clock.
Yuuki sucked in a short, shuddering breath, more audible than the ones that had come before. “Shougo,” he whined softly, voice breaking halfway through.
“What is it, Yuuki?” he asked gently, grateful that his expertise in carefully hiding his emotions allowed him to keep his voice level. He chose a random spot in his darkened room on which to fix his gaze, to anchor his mind to keep it from wandering to increasingly less likely situations, to keep him calm and sane.
Another moment of silence passed, and Yuuki hiccupped. “Shougo, I can’t get into my room! The key, it won’t—” He sniffed, cutting himself off, but gave no indication of continuing.
“I’ll be right there. Just give me a few minutes,” Shougo reassured him. At his friend’s short hum of affirmation, he hung up and clambered out of bed. Quickly he threw on a random T-shirt and a pair of jeans, stuffing his phone into one pocket and his keys into the other. He padded as quietly as he could out into the common area, careful not to disturb his possibly slumbering suitemate, and forewent putting on shoes as he unlocked the door and slipped into the hallway. Locking it behind him again, he turned and headed for the stairs, hastening down them to the second floor of the dorm.
He found Yuuki sitting against the wall next to the door of his room, knees pulled up to his chest and arms wrapped tightly around them. Red rimmed his eyes and evidence of half-dried tear tracks stained his cheeks. Wide brown eyes followed his movements as Shougo crouched down before him and held out his hand, palm-up. “Keys,” he prompted.
Yuuki stared blankly at him and tilted his head to the side—though “lolled” might have been the better word; his head tilted until his cheek rested smooshed in the crook of his arm with no effort, almost like it were loose from his neck. His breath smelled somewhat of alcohol.
“Give me your keys,” Shougo repeated patiently.
With a short nod, the brunet sat up and unfurled his legs, digging out his keys from his pocket.
“Why were you drinking anyway?” Shougo asked as he accepted the keys that were placed unsteadily in his waiting hand. He stood, watching Yuuki carefully out of the corner of his eye as he walked the few paces to the door. “Don’t you have morning class tomorrow?”
Yuuki shook his head wildly; he overbalanced slightly and steadied himself with both hands on the ground. “Afternoon,” he said, words slightly slurred. Shougo hadn’t noticed it over the phone, though whether that had been the phone’s fault or his own, he didn’t know. “Morning cancelled.”
The lock clicked. As he pushed the door open, Shougo shoved the keys into his pocket with his own and returned to crouch in front of Yuuki.
“The person I like will never like me back.”
“Fujimiya?” he asked doubtfully as he snaked his arm under one of Yuuki’s and wrapped it firmly around his waist. As far as he knew, his friend had gotten over her by the time they’d started college.
He shook his head again and leaned heavily into Shougo’s side as they stood. Shougo gently nudged him into walking and half-led, half-dragged him into the room. “Who?”
“I don’t think I’m supposed to tell you,” he mumbled, brows furrowing. He leaned further into Shougo and nuzzled into his neck, warm breath gusting over his collarbones; Shougo suppressed a shiver.
“Hase,” he gritted out from between clenched teeth. “I should make you walk on your own.” Yuuki’s hands tightened on his shirt and he didn’t follow through with his threat; he’d only half meant it, anyway.
“You could have come to my room, you know,” he said, gentler. His friend merely raised his free shoulder in an approximation of a shrug.
But really, that hadn’t been the answer he was expecting, earlier. Granted, he’d only half-expected an answer (and only half-wanted one), but that wasn’t it. But he wouldn’t press. Mentally he shrugged it off and concentrated on maneuvering the uncooperative Yuuki to his bedroom.
The brunet flopped back onto his bed as soon as Shougo let go of him, and he gave no indication of moving on his own any time soon.
“Can you undress yourself?”
Yuuki stared at him for a moment, blinked, and shook his head. Shougo felt heat rush to his cheeks. At once, he was glad for the darkness that masked the embarrassing blush he was surely sporting.
“Shoes first, then,” he sighed, kneeling down by Yuuki’s feet and methodically slipping off first one sneaker and then the other, setting them neatly aside. When he rose, Yuuki wordlessly held out his hands for him to take and use to pull him back up into a standing position. Obediently he raised his arms without any prompting past a light tug at the hem of his shirt, allowing Shougo to slip it up and off over his head with little trouble. Arms swinging limply back down to his sides, Yuuki leaned forward to rest his forehead against Shougo’s shoulder whilst the blond was left to fumble blindly with his pants. Gods help him, but this felt too much like—
Yuuki stepped out of his pants once they’d fallen to his ankles, clutching tightly to Shougo’s shirt for balance as he kicked the pesky garment off his feet. That ordeal now thankfully over with, Shougo gently pried his friend off of him. Once he was sure that the other could stand on his own and was in no danger of toppling forward, he made to step back but was halted by Yuuki’s hands fisting into the front of his shirt.
Yuuki tilted his head up to look at him, and his eyes, though blown wide with fear and some kind of desperation, were startlingly, mesmerizingly clear of all earlier traces of tipsiness. A light flush was evident across his cheeks even in the room’s low light—how must he himself have looked?—and his jaw was clenched tightly. “Don’t leave me. Shougo.”
“I won’t,” he said quickly, heart catching in his throat. One hand came up to smooth the hair out of Yuuki’s face reassuringly, resting afterward at the back of his head. He wasn’t sure what kind of expression he wore then, but he knew it wasn’t his usual aloof disinterest. “I won’t leave you, Yuuki,” he breathed. “I’m just getting you some water, and then I’ll be right back.”
Leaning into the touch, Yuuki’s expression softened. Though he didn’t quite smile, it was close. Nodding, he released his grip and stepped back, flopping onto the bed in a semi-controlled collapse.
Taking that as his cue to leave, Shougo ducked down then to pick up Yuuki’s shoes and padded out to deposit them in their usual place by the entrance before continuing into the kitchenette. When he returned a minute later with a glass of water, he found that Yuuki had curled up under the covers. He bade his friend sit up and handed him the glass. Yuuki blinked sleepily at it a few times before accepting it. Shougo watched him bring it to his lips with both hands, and would only accept it back after Yuuki had drunk at least half of it.
After making sure his friend was comfortably situated beneath the covers again, Shougo made to return the mostly empty glass to the kitchenette. A hand shot out and latched on to his wrist. Yuuki stared plaintively up at him from beneath the blanket. “Stay,” he said, voice somewhat muffled both by sleep and by the pillow. “Please. Shougo.”
He was weak to the way Yuuki said his name. The way he put just a little too much emphasis on the first syllable, the way he held out the vowel for half a beat too long had always done strange things to his insides. Sometimes he suspected Yuuki knew the effect he had on him, but other times, he knew it was just Yuuki being Yuuki. Shougo wasn’t sure which this was.
Closing his eyes, he sighed and set the glass down on the nightstand with a soft clink. Yuuki’s grip tightened minutely. “Just let me take my jeans off, at least.”
Yuuki blinked a few times, brows furrowing as if he was reluctant to release their point of contact, before retreating his hand and scooting back a bit to make room for him in the bed. Shucking out of his jeans, Shougo clambered under the covers as well. At the expectant puppy look his friend was giving him, he sighed again and opened his arms. Yuuki shuffled forward and curled up against him, head snug under his chin. Shougo wrapped his arms around him and drew him closer, fingers finding the long hair at the back of his head to card soothingly through it as they waited for sleep to overtake them.
If he knew what was good for him, he would stop letting himself get dragged into situations like this. But apparently, when it came to Yuuki, at least, he didn’t know what was good for him. “You’re going to be the death of me one day,” he muttered, resigned but fond. His only answer was Yuuki’s steady breathing.
He woke with the distinct impression that something was wrong. He couldn’t feel one of his arms, a large, warm weight pressed against his chest, and something soft tickled his nose with every inhale.
When he blinked his eyes open, it was to morning sunlight streaming soft through the window and Yuuki curled up against him, enfolded in his arms, still asleep. Understanding reached him on the next breath as he remembered all at once what had happened the night before. Idly his fingers found Yuuki’s soft brown hair once more and he played with it lazily, not caring that he wished, in the back of his mind, that every morning could be like this.
Yuuki stirred a few moments later, eyes fluttering open as he shifted back enough to stare up at him with a mixture of sleep and confusion, brows knitting together. His eyes widened as he gasped. “Sh-Shougo!” he stammered, scrambling too quickly to sit up, then, wincing, he clutched at the side of his no-doubt throbbing head. His gaze flicked back to Shougo, somewhat apprehensive and almost guilty. “Did I say anything last night? Anything weird?”
Levering himself up into a sitting position as well, Shougo told him: “You told me you like someone.”
Eyes blowing wide in horror, he scrabbled back to the edge of the bed. An edge of panic crept into his voice as he said hurriedly, “I’m sorry! I never meant to tell you I like you. Oh God, you must be so disgusted with me right now. And I even made you stay—”
“You never said who.” He wasn’t still dreaming, right?
Yuuki froze. His gaze flicked to him reluctantly, and Shougo could read all the panic and dread and uncertainty in his eyes. He leaned forward and pressed a kiss to the side of Yuuki’s still-gaping mouth. Even if it was just a dream, he’d take it. “And I’m not disgusted,” he murmured against his skin just before pulling back, watching his friend’s expression carefully. His hand began to tingle almost painfully as his now-uninhibited circulation brought blood back to his fingers; maybe it wasn’t a dream, then.
All the negative emotions on Yuuki’s face melted away on his exhale, to be replaced by a warm, slow-curving smile. It was like watching the sun rising to evaporate the morning fog. “Shougo!” he breathed happily, throwing his arms around the blond’s neck. When he leaned up to return the kiss, Shougo leaned back, frowning, and pointedly turned his head the other way.
“Shougo,” Yuuki whined crossly.
“You taste like morning breath.”
“So do you. Probably.”
Shougo gently extricated himself from Yuuki’s embrace and stood from the bed. “Go brush your teeth, and I’ll get you some water. You have a hangover, don’t you? Since it’s from dehydration, drinking fluids will help expedite your recovery.”
“It’s not that bad,” he mumbled, but he disentangled himself from the sheets and clambered out of bed to do as he was told nonetheless. As Yuuki headed toward the bathroom, Shougo thought he heard him mutter, “‘Expedite my recovery’? Is he an old man or something?”
Grabbing the glass off of the nightstand, Shougo padded out into the common area, where he found Yuuki’s suitemate watching television on low volume, facing away from him.
“Yo, Hase, you get back no problem?” he asked. He tore his eyes away from the screen and half-twisted around in his seat, then blinked and froze when he saw Shougo instead. “Oh. Kiryuu. Uh.”
“Did everyone know except me?”
The guy—Tanigawa, he remembered—cocked his head to the side in confusion, then winced when realization dawned on him—as he’d thought, then. “Uh. Well. It was a recent development?” he tried.
Shougo continued wordlessly into the kitchenette to replace the tepid water in the glass, and Tanigawa returned to his show. He could believe that; Yuuki was a terrible liar, and he could never hide anything from anyone for long, least of all from someone who knew him as well as Shougo did.
Yuuki was waiting for him, medicine for his headache in hand, when he returned. He relieved him of the glass and downed about half of the contents along with the pill. Setting down the glass, he took a deep breath and turned to face him, nervous and expectant.
“I still haven’t brushed my teeth,” Shougo said, more for Yuuki’s sake than a need to stall out of nervousness, though maybe this was nervousness thrumming through his veins, he didn’t know. He couldn’t remember being this nervous, feeling this much anticipation for something before. He thought he understood, now, why people say that anticipation kills.
“I don’t care,” Yuuki said, and took a step forward. His hands were surprisingly steady when he placed them on either side of Shougo’s neck, his eyes full of conviction when he turned his gaze up to lock unwaveringly with the blond’s. “The first person I fell in love with didn’t feel the same way for me in the end, and then I thought I would never have a chance with you, but now suddenly I do, and I need to know it’s real or I’ll go crazy. I need to know that it’s not all a dream.”
That it’s not all a dream.
He raised both hands to frame Yuuki’s face, fingers brushing back soft locks of hair, thumbs resting just by his jaw, and tilted his head back for a better angle from which to capture his lips. It wasn’t anything special, not in the way that novels and movies and manga and anime tended to romanticize a first kiss, where everything was magical, and the background blurred out or went white, and a random breeze picked up out of nowhere and carried on it flower petals or leaves or snow or whatever befitted the season but not necessarily the locale; he hadn’t kissed anyone but family before, and certainly not like this, so he didn’t have anything to compare it to, but he could taste the remnants of Yuuki’s mint toothpaste on his lips, could hear the blood rushing in his ears, and the kiss was awkward in the way that a kiss between two guys barely into adulthood who hadn’t the faintest idea about kissing was, but it was utterly perfect even so—or maybe even because of it—especially when Yuuki tilted his head slightly to the side and their mouths melded like they were meant to fit together. And maybe they were.
At some point, Yuuki’s hands had moved to fist into the material of his shirt over his shoulder blades, and when he licked at his bottom lip, Yuuki gasped, hands twisting further into the fabric and pulling him closer. One of Shougo’s own hands shifted to press at the middle of Yuuki’s back, the bare skin hot beneath his palm.
When they broke apart for breath, Shougo rested his forehead against Yuuki’s, the hand still tangled in Yuuki’s hair dropping to rest with the other at the small of his back. Yuuki smiled up at him, closed-eyed and flushed and beaming, shoulders shaking with silent, bubbling laughter that gusted warm breath smelling faintly of peppermint into their shared space in bursts. He ducked his head to bury his face in the side of Shougo’s neck and tightened his arms around his back, and as they stood there in each other’s arms, Shougo dared to hope that his wish might come true after all.