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A Tiny Black Case

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Karma stared at his clasped hands, he wasn’t sure if he should even be doing this. The mere thought of the possible outcomes scared him. He shook his head trying to steer his thoughts away from the worst-case scenarios, he had to think positive thoughts, or he would undoubtedly ensure his own failure, like last time.

He heard the front door open and he hurriedly hid in the closet, he had planned this so carefully, he couldn’t back out now.

The closet he had hit in was mostly empty, he had made sure of that, but even so he could barely sit in there. He was sure if he moved it could be heard throughout the apartment. The last thing he wanted was to screw up by alerting Nagisa of his presence.

He heard someone rustling in the kitchen, his plan was moving along nicely. It would take another few minutes for them to reach the closet. He only had a few minutes to calm his nerves, it didn’t work. He stressed, ultimately dropping the tiny black case he held in his hands.

“Fuck!” He whispered, the case had landed in the darkness besides him and he had to find it before the closet was opened, with no light to guide him. He fumbled for the case with his left hand trying to make sure he didn’t make any noise in the process.

Just as his hand grasped around the small case the closet opened casting light on him and showering him with fresh air. He smiled nervously, looked up ready to pop the question, and…

His heart stopped.

There, above him, stood Kayano, Nagisa’s best friend aside from himself, when she realised what she had walked into she turned instantly red and smacked the closet doors in Karma’s face. He barely registered the absence of light and air, his mind was focused on one thing.

His carefully constructed setting had been ruptured, by none other than his boyfriend’s best friend, who he still had no idea as to why was there in the first place. It was a weekday and Nagisa rarely hung out with friends on weekdays, he knew this well. He had even taken Nagisa’s schedule into consideration when he had planned the day and time to set up his plan. As today was one of Karma’s rare days off, he had seen it as the perfect opportunity to do it.

He collected himself enough to push open the doors to the closet, he looked around the apartment, all the signs he had strung up were taken down as they were supposed to, just not by the right person. He turned his attention to the petite actress, she was profusely apologising whilst trying to explain she thought it was a joke of some kind meant to be played on whoever came home first.

“Where’s Nagisa?” Karma asked, he was trying his very best to remain calm and not throw the small black case directly at Kayano’s face. She lifted her gaze from the ground staring at the little case he still held carefully, but tightly, in his left hand.

“He… he wanted to go shopping with me… but he forgot his umbrella here.. so… so I offered to get it for him.. I swear I had no idea you were going to..” She trailed off staring at his left hand, it almost covered the entire case. He lifted his hand and opened it, he stared at it, it was hard for him to comprehend that such a small thing could perfectly convey his intentions before he could even say a word.

“Why didn’t he go with you to get the umbrella?” Karma had snapped his gaze away from the box to look at Kayano, his face had softened considerably from when he first saw her, but his voice was still just as sharp and accusing.

“Well.. uhm…” She shifted her gaze towards the ground again. “I can’t tell you actually. But I should probably go soon if you don’t want him coming up here to check on me.” She said eying the umbrella that stood propped up against the wall next to their apartment door. His eyes followed her line of sight landing on the aforementioned umbrella, then he looked back to her only to realise that one of his greatest fears would come true, were he to keep her any longer.

“Go, but promise you won’t even hint at it okay?” Karma felt weak, he was sure he looked weak too, but he didn’t care, he wanted the moment with Nagisa to be perfect, and he knew Kayano was good at acting, even to mislead her friends, as she had so perfectly demonstrated all the way back in middle school.

“I promise, I wouldn’t ruin it for anything Karma.” She winked and lifted two fingers in a goodbye gesture. “And good luck, this would’ve been more than perfect, I’m sure. I’m terribly sorry for ruining it.” She apologized one last time turning to hurry out the door with the umbrella in hand.

Karma waited until the door clicked shut before he removed his gaze from the place she had disappeared. He looked down at the tiny box, still lying in his left palm. “I’m sorry buddy not this time either.” He sighed.

This wasn’t the first attempt, in fact he had tried a total of four times prior, the majority of the times he had screwed it up by getting too nervous and missing the opportunities to ask. Once he forgot the case at home, even though the mood had been perfect. In hindsight he was glad he forgot it, he convinced himself, had he brought it, he would have been too nervous to enjoy their evening together stargazing at the local park. It was definitely something he would do again once they were...

He groaned, tossing the case on the couch, it landed with a soft thud. He felt like giving up, this time had been the most elaborate one yet, he just never seemed to be calm enough to actually think rationally. He was convinced there had been some kind of curse cast upon him all the way back when he fell for the short blue-haired boy. Back then he had been so scared of his feelings, now they were both fresh out of university and headed into vastly different careers.

Before long they would be pulled apart from each other, a fact Karma was painfully aware of every second of his day, it gnawed at him from the back of his mind, slowly draining his optimism and happiness. Someday Nagisa would want to move on from him, another fact that scared Karma to death.

He had begun having nightmares about losing Nagisa to Kayano, he knew it was unfounded and irrational, but that didn’t calm his fear. He still hadn’t told Nagisa about his nightmares, it would require him explaining why he got them as well, which was what he was trying to avoid.

Karma walked to the bedroom, he didn’t want to do anything other than sleep away the pain that burned through his chest like hellfire.

“Karma, it’s time to wake up.” Karma registered the voice clearly, it was the voice he loved more than anything. He turned onto his side groaning as he did so. Nagisa chuckled behind him. “C’mon Karma it’s already time for dinner, you’ve been sleeping for quite some time.”

Karma simply groaned once more, he turned to lay on his back this time his arm hung over his eyes. He lifted it slowly peeking out from under it, there above him stood what he swore every day was an angel, Nagisa his boyfriend.

His lips tugged into a smile as the bluenette’s eyes widened, he had seen through Karma’s plan well before it happened. He didn’t have time to dodge the arm that shot up from the bed and latched on to the smaller boy’s shoulder, Karma’s grin grew wider when he had successfully planted a kiss on Nagisa’s lips and situated them so they were both comfortable in the bed they shared.

“Karma we have to eat.” Nagisa mumbled, he didn’t sound very convincing to Karma who hummed in response refusing to budge from their current position. “Karma, the food’s getting cold, we have to go eat it, we can watch a movie after if you’d like?” Nagisa pushed gently against Karma’s chest, the redhead let go, his eyes were shining as he looked directly into Nagisa’s eyes. “Can I pick any movie?”

After eating their dinner they quickly rinsed the dishes and put them in the dishwasher, it had become a routine almost immediately after they moved together so as to not start any arguments about who should take care of the dishes.

Karma ran to the couch while Nagisa went to the toilet, he was excited for picking a movie. He stopped in his tracks when he saw the tiny black box lying on the couch, it was in plain sight, contrasting greatly with the much lighter colour of the couch.

Horror overtook his excitement, he had no way of knowing if Nagisa had noticed it yet, his gaze shifted to the clock on the wall. He didn’t know how long Nagisa had been home, he hoped oh so dearly he had come home and begun cooking straight away, if not, then he would have undoubtedly seen the box. It seemed untouched, sitting in the same place it had after Karma had tossed it.

He heard the bathroom door click open. “Have you loaded the movie yet?” Footsteps reverberated throughout the apartment, they seemed significantly louder than Karma remembered Nagisa’s footsteps to be.

Without thinking about the consequences he jumped on the couch, it complained loudly underneath his sudden weight. The thought that it might collapse flickered through his mind for only a split-second before all his attention focused back on the case that was digging into his ribcage. I wasn’t the most smooth of operations but he successfully hid the case from his Nagisa, who had just turned the corner behind the TV when Karma landed.

“What are you doing?” He asked puzzled.

“Ah, you know.. just.. stuff?” he hadn’t meant for it to come out as a question but it did, he tried his best to quickly think of a comeback, he came up empty handed. “Well I wanted to... test the quality of the couch.” He bounced a few times, careful not to let the box out into plain sight once again, so as to prove his point. “It seems secure enough now.”

As if the universe was intent on proving him wrong today, the entire couch collapsed beneath him. He reached out to try and find something to hold onto in his fall, he found nothing, instead his eyes landed on the case that had oh-so-conveniently fallen out onto the floor. Nagisa, however, was too preoccupied with laughing his ass off to notice it.

“That was so…. funny… Karma…” He broke out into full blown laughter hitting his thigh. Karma was once again captivated by the beauty of the person standing in front of him, it was rare he laughed, and when he did it sounded so heavenly that it further enhanced karma’s running theory of how Nagisa was actually an angel sent from heaven.

“Wait.. what’s that?”

Karma’s heart shrank, it felt as if it was too small to pump out blood to his body anymore. It was as if the entire world had frozen over, gone was the feeling of heaven that accompanied Nagisa’s laugh, instead there was only the feeling of pure horror filling Karma’s entire being.

Nagisa tried to tame his laughter enough to pick up the tiny black thing he had spotted on the floor. Just before his fingers grazed the surface of it, it was snatched away from his vision, he peered up at Karma who was panting and holding the box in his right hand.

Nagisa’s visibly widened in realisation. “Is... is that?” Karma could see Nagisa’s face go blank, he was certain he would run away at any minute, the bluenette, however, appeared to be staying.

Excruciatingly slowly Karma saw his boyfriend’s face soften and warm up, soon it was filled with the widest smile Karma had ever seen on the boy.

“Yes, Karma, my answer will always be, yes.”

Karma had never felt so many emotions at once, he could only identify a few; shock, confusion, happiness. He leapt from the collapsed couch and tackled Nagisa, they both landed on the floor next to the TV.

Nagisa laughed and intertwined their hands, he put his other in Karma’s hair. Karma was too busy to think of anything but the feeling of Nagisa being so close, the thought of him always being this close lit his entire being with fire from the inside. He felt his eyes watering as he hid his face between Nagisa’s shoulder and his own arm, he let that hand grab the blue lock that spread across the floor.

He sobbed.

Nagisa’s hand gently caressed the back of his head, Karma could tell he was crying as well, but he had a hunch it wasn’t for the exact same reason. Then he remembered the tiny case that had landed a few feet from their heads, if he wanted to he could reach it easily, but he didn’t want to break their current position.

“Just take it Karma.” Nagisa’s voice broke him out of his own thoughts, his attention flicked momentarily to the boy beneath him, he saw the dashing smile and the shining eyes that he had fallen in love with oh so many years ago now. His mind fluttered back to the tiny case, would Nagisa be surprised when he found out what was in it?

He reached out with his right hand, the one that had been in Nagisa’s hair just moments before, he felt the smooth surface of the case and gripped it tightly, he didn’t want to risk losing it now.

He swallowed the lump that had somehow build in his throat, it had also successfully cut off his supply of happiness from his body, now it felt heavy, heavier than it had with any of the previous attempts. A new thought popped up into his head. What if Nagisa didn’t like it? It wasn’t as though Karma had planned the design with anyone, he had chosen it all on his own. He knew he should have asked Kayano, the fear of rejection had kept him from doing so, he couldn’t tell Kayano before he told Nagisa. Or that was what he had though all the way back then, now it seemed irrelevant.

He looked back to Nagisa, his smile had faded, there on his face instead resided a worried expression, he reached up towards Karma’s face one hand cupping his cheek, his thumb wiped away a tear that had just barely escaped his right eye.

“What’s wrong Karma?” nagisa’s voice was overflowing with worry, it hit Karma like a hit to his abdomen. He choked, by worrying about whether or not Nagisa would like what he saw, he had subconsciously made him worry.

“It’s just that.. I’m really nervous you know?” Karma admitted looking straight into Nagisa’s large blue eyes, he got spend hours just staring into the vast blue colour of his boyfriend’s eyes.

Nagisa nodded showing he understood, Karma wondered if he really did, he wasn’t sure he even understood it himself so he really didn’t expect Nagisa to fully grasp the emotion running through him at that moment.

Nagisa propped himself up on his other arm, ultimately pulling away from Karma’s hand in the process. Karma frowned at the exposure of air that his hand was subjected to afterwards. His attention didn’t wander for long though, Nagisa’s other hand guided his face to face him once again, Karma felt pressure on his lips, it took a moment to realise it was Nagisa’s lips that was connecting with his own. He closed his eyes in pleasure, even after years of dating, he never grew tired of kissing the small and gentle boy.

“It’s okay Karma, I love you.” Nagisa said when he had pulled back just enough to allow air to flow between them. This allowed Karma to calm down a little, his focus had shifted from the case once more, his mind was occupied only by thoughts of wanting to kiss Nagisa again.

He closed the distance between them swiftly, locking their lips in another kiss. This time it wasn’t sweet and gentle, it was a kiss filled with emotion, Karma let all of his feelings flow through his lips, and Nagisa did the same.

When they parted again it was a necessity, they both needed air. Karma remembered the case that was still secured in his right hand. He lifted it up so Nagisa could see.

“I really hope you like it, I didn’t discuss the design with Kayano and I’m sorry about that, but I didn’t want her to know before you so..” Karma knew he was blushing by this point, but he also knew there was no point in trying to hide it, Nagisa would see it no matter what he tried.

After trying to gain control of his shaking hands, he opened the small case and took out a ring. The ring was made of silver, it had a simple design, a single line ran around it cutting it into two, the line zig-zagged on a single point of the ring, on the inside was a clearly engraved Nagisa, and a matching Karma on the opposite side.

When Karma looked over at Nagisa he saw a look of pure wonder and surprise, it was a sight Karma tried his best to etch into his mind. He wanted to remember this moment for all of his life, but oh how he wish he could take a picture of Nagisa’s face.

Then Karma put the ring carefully between his forefinger and thumb, he brought up his other hand to mirror it. He then snapped the ring in two. He couldn’t help the smirk that spread on his face when Nagisa’s face turned to one of pure horror, he even laughed at the blue-haired boy.

“You should see your face.”

“Why did you break it!?” Nagisa couldn’t help but look to and from the now severed ring in Karma’s hands and his face. Karma merely laughed louder throwing his head back, he felt great, this was the moment he had been the most excited for, the one moment he knew would be fun regardless of how many nerves had been gnawing at him earlier. The moment he could prank Nagisa.

When Nagisa’s face turned to one of confusion Karma beckoned for his left hand with his own right, Nagisa obeyed poking forth the hand that had been floating between them. Karma secured half the ring on his ring finger, the small points sticking outwards towards Karma. He then turn Nagisa’s hand around and put the other half in his palm.

Nagisa had gotten over his initial shock at the ring snapping rather fast, too fast according to Karma, he took Karma’s left hand and gently slipped the ring down over his ring finger.

“I love you so much.” Karma said leaning down touching his nose to Nagisa’s. Nagisa chuckled and rubbed back with his own nose. “I love you too, Karma, although you’re such a prankster. I nearly got a heart attack when you snapped it in two!” He playfully pushed at Karma’s chest.

“Well you fell for me despite that didn’t you?” Karma was back in a playful mood, all nerves blissfully forgotten.

“I sure did.”