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Smile for Me

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Being in the mud is disgusting, Miyadate concludes as he stares down at his dirtied boots and pants. Looking around, he sees the other snipers all at work too – practising how to camouflage themselves and their partners properly and it makes Miyadate a little guilty that he hasn’t even so much as gotten in the mud yet. Resignedly, he looks down at the brown sticky substance and grimaces. They’ll be at this for hours; he just knows it somehow. It’s not like he hasn’t done this before but he simply doesn’t feel like it today. Maybe he’s just getting tired of all the fighting he had done and heard about.

Being in the mud is disgusting. Disgusting but necessary, his mind supplies and he lets out a soft groan.

“Ryota?”

Miyadate looks down at his partner upon hearing his voice and a small smile creeps onto his face when he notices a splat of mud on the latter's nose. If they hadn't been in the army, the other boy would probably be crying and screaming about how he was all dirty. Actually, Miyadate isn't exactly sure if the other would react that way anymore. After all, they've been in the army for years now. Maybe the other would have been wailing about it when they were still seven years old and playing at the beach, in the sand, worry free. When he sees Watanabe staring up at him with curious eyes, his smile grows just a little wider and kinder, and inside, he knows that Watanabe isn't that seven year old boy who would whine and complain about everything anymore.

Before he starts delving deeper into his mind for these past memories, he feels a tug at his pants. It starts out light and he groans inwardly, knowing what to expect next. Just as he had predicted, the tugging quickly turns into a jerk, pulling him down into the mud pit; face first, no less.

“Shota you – ” he grumbles as soon as he surfaces, face almost completely covered in the brown goo, but he stops himself short when he sees Watanabe smiling at him; the smile where the other's eyes crinkle at the side and form small crescents. The smile Miyadate loves.

“Get to work,” Watanabe whispers before failing to control the obnoxious laughter that slips past his lips when he looks at Miyadate's now muddy face. Miyadate shoots him a half-hearted glare which fades away in a few seconds when Watanabe doesn't stop laughing. He can’t stay mad at Watanabe for long after all.

“My turn,” Watanabe says as he slathers a handful of mud onto Miyadate's hand and sticks his face out as if asking for a kiss.

The action makes Watanabe look quite ridiculous but it merely makes Miyadate smile again. As if knowing Miyadate was making fun of Watanabe in his mind, the older boy’s lips start to curve slightly upwards forming a sweet smile. Miyadate chuckles as he begins painting Watanabe's face with the mud conscientiously and gently. Unable to help himself, subconsciously, he thinks back to the time when they were seven years old and playing in the sand again; how he had sprinkled a little sand on Watanabe's knee causing the latter to sob endlessly. Only some years later did he find out that the other boy enjoyed being clean. Miyadate remembers how he thought Watanabe should just stay away from the sand then. Though he had erased that thought as soon as he realised how lonely he was without the other's presence when Watanabe had been absent from school due to fever one day.

But it's different now. Now they're in the midst of war and this is no game. It’s not for fun. It's not simply playing on the beach and sprinkling sand all over the place. It's war.

“You're having that stupid serious look on your face again,” Watanabe comments, smiling lazily at Miyadate beneath the half completed mud mask. “What are you thinking of now?”

Watanabe doesn’t really expect an answer but he still laughs cheekily anyway when Miyadate doesn't say anything, just smiling politely.

Finishing the last few touch ups on Watanabe's cheeks, Miyadate can't help but realise that the latter had lost weight again. Hasn’t the other been eating lately? In all honesty, Miyadate doesn’t know because he’s been too caught up thinking about his own problems but now that he’s realised, he feels bad for not taking care of Watanabe properly. Knowing how careless the other is about eating, Miyadate should have been more attentive.

“Ryota, whatever you’re thinking, it’s not your fault,” Watanabe says suddenly, like he had just read Miyadate’s thoughts, surprising the other. “I just wasn’t hungry.”

It’s futile to argue with Watanabe about food, Miyadate knows but he still tries most of the time. Now’s not one of those times. It takes a while longer for him to remove his hand from the other's cheek (he just can’t help worrying) before he's pulling away to admire his handiwork. They've done this before. The camouflage is - in his opinion - flawless, as always.

“Done,” Miyadate says, sounding more smug than he intended to, earning himself an eye roll from Watanabe. He narrows his eyes at Watanabe and the latter scrunches up his nose back (Watanabe still doesn’t like the feeling, the thought, of mud covering up his face), causing Miyadate to laugh before he places a chaste kiss to Watanabe's forehead, ruining the mud a little, so he touches that bit up one last time.

Watanabe giggles, swatting Miyadate away with his hands. When Miyadate is at a reasonable distance away, Watanabe then starts spreading the mud neatly over Miyadate's already muddy face. “Gross,” he mutters with a fond smile on his face as he uses his clean thumb to swipe away the tiny mud stain on Miyadate's upper lip.

“Use both hands,” Miyadate tells Watanabe who languidly lifts up his other completely clean - save his thumb - hand and starts helping Miyadate with his mud make up.

“Yes, sir~” Watanabe sing-songs playfully, earning himself a hearty chuckle from Miyadate.

They may be in the midst of war but Miyadate has never been so in love.