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theoretical friction of lucky stars

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The walk back sucks. Hard. Maybe the whole umbrella sharing thing is nice in theory - Hinata just finds himself wishing they had one, instead of a soggy jacket. He doesn’t feel like the jacket makes much of a difference in the end, between its unconventional shape and how insistent the rain is. His jeans still end up totally soaked all the way to a few inches above the hem, wet sand plastered on them like paste.

“Ugh,” he groans when they hit his terrace, bending over to tear at his shoelaces because if he doesn’t get his sneakers off now he’s going to scream. Turns out canvas doesn’t play nice with sand and water. Surprise of the fucking century. He grimaces when setting his foot down makes an unpleasant, grainy squelch, probably looking cool as hell as he hops around trying to rip his socks off.

“Please don’t slip, Hinata-kun.” Komaeda looks perturbed, shaking wet sand out of his shoes behind Hinata. He tugs the hair tie out of his damp hair, expression turning apprehensive when it gets stuck for a moment, before finally pulling free. He stretches it out, slips it over his hand so that it circles his wrist like a bracelet. It’s like all the volume’s seeped out of his hair. Hinata resents that he still manages to look kind of nice, when he can feel his own hair sticking to his forehead in a soggy mess.

“I’ve got it covered, thanks,” Hinata grumbles, throwing his socks, overarm, in the vague direction of his shoes. “This sucks,” he declares, digging his keys out of his pocket with a savage hand. He gestures for Komaeda to go in ahead of him - he apparently isn’t expecting it, because it takes him a moment for him to drift through the door, eyes a little dazed.

“This sucks,” Hinata says again, totally not pushing the door any harder than it needs in order to make it close behind them.

“So you’ve said, Hinata-kun,” is Komaeda’s mild response. He’s sure Komaeda must be so into him right now, looking half-drowned to death and whining like a little kid. “It’s certainly not ideal.”

Hinata just barely manages to skirt around actually growling as he scrabbles at his tie, squeezing water out of the knot as he struggles to get it loose. “I’ll get you some hangers,” he says, heading for his closet, “And then we can-”

He shoots Komaeda a glance to find him staring, grey eyes wide above where he’s clutching his sodden jacket to his chest like it’s a shield. His gaze is so intense it makes Hinata come to an abrupt halt, bare feet slipping a little in the water he’s tracked across the wooden floor.

“What?”

“Nn,” Komaeda says, voice a little high pitched, “Nothing, Hinata-kun!”

Concern prickles in Hinata’s chest. He approaches Komaeda, because what he really needs right now is for Komaeda to have caught a chill, or something equally as horrible. “No,” he sighs, because he’s not in the mood for the Let’s Painstakingly Investigate What’s Wrong With Komaeda Now game, “Something’s wrong-”

Komaeda drops his jacket with a distinctly wet thunk , wrapping his arms around himself, fingers clutching at his wet t-shirt. Hinata knows for a fact that his eyes widen, which is only natural, because he’s confused as hell. Komaeda seems to be going through something, hugging himself as his eyes sparkle, but Hinata can’t for the life of him figure out what the fuck is going on.

So the usual, as far as interacting with Komaeda goes. “Are you… okay?”

“It’s only…” Komaeda says, breathily, and Hinata can almost feel his gaze as it trails down his torso, “Such a hopeful sight, is, ah…”

Hinata raises an eyebrow and glances down at himself for the first time. Only now does it occur to him that his shirt is white, completely drenched, and clinging to him like it’s been stuck down to his body with craft glue.

Tanaka’s right. Komaeda is a fucking demon. Shade. Whatever.

He manages to plaster an incredulous expression on his face even as he feels the blush crawl across it. “Are you kidding? ‘ Hopeful’? That’s what you’re gonna call your little- Yeah, he definitely gets redder, “-Wet t-shirt fetish?”

The fact that Komaeda’s t-shirt is also wet and thus clingy is something that Hinata is steadfastly refusing to notice or acknowledge.

“It’s not a fetish, Hinata-kun,” Komaeda protests, at least having the decency to look admonished, “It’s just- you’re very... modest , and- many wondered-”

“Don’t try and put this on the others,” Hinata says, arching an eyebrow, crossing his arms over his chest, half because he’s annoyed and half to deny Komaeda the view, “Or are you admitting to being a nasty little gossip, Komaeda? Am I being,” he almost rolls his eyes, “ Distracting, right now?”

“I would never gossip, Hinata-kun!” Komaeda declares, pressing a hand to his chest. “It’s not as though anyone would bother to take the time to-”

Hinata takes another step closer to him. Komaeda’s voice falters.

Slightly distracting!” he almost squeaks.

Huh. That’s kind of…

He slaps a hand against his forehead. “I’m the worst.” The statement comes out matter-of-fact, because it is a fact.

“Oh, no!” it comes out as a cry, and Komaeda ends up being the one to close the distance between them, his presence almost humid, too warm, too suffocating, “ No, Hinata-kun, you’re wonderful-”

“Komaeda,” Hinata cuts in, because he doesn’t want to hear about how wonderful he is right now, he is sick and tired of that dance, “Shut up.”

He gets a flash of wide eyes before he tilts Komaeda’s chin down and presses their lips together. Komaeda’s bony fingers come up to clutch at Hinata’s shoulders, locking them closer together, that peculiar heat curling off Komaeda still, ghosting across Hinata’s damp skin.

He can’t believe he’d spent all that time in the sim wishing he could shut Komaeda up, when it’d been this simple all along.

“Hey, Komaeda,” he says, when they pause to breathe, “How come you came here instead of your own room?”

Komaeda’s eyes go round. Hinata’s heart sinks as Komaeda flinches away, back towards the door. “Forgive me, Hinata-kun - I’ve obviously intruded where I’m not welcome, and was rude enough to not seek permission before-”

“No!” Hinata cuts in, because he was just teasing , “You’re not intruding, you’re - you’re welcome here, um, whenever-” Komaeda’s eyes somehow widen even further when Hinata grabs him by both wrists, as if this is somehow more surprising than Hinata kissing him. Hinata catches himself staring, dumbstruck, mentally slaps himself, forces himself to speak because he can feel this situation rapidly slipping out of his control.

“I just. You know. Wondered if you wanted to be here.”

“...I was enjoying being in your presence.” He looks pretty reluctant to admit it, Hinata thinks. “As though scum like me has any business-”

“I was enjoying being with you, too,” Hinata interrupts, before he can really get going.

“...Mmm.” Komaeda goes from completely astonished to kind of flushed in the space of about two seconds before he turns away.

Someone has to step up, Hinata realises, and it probably isn’t going to be Komaeda.

“Komaeda.”

Komaeda glances up again. Hinata swallows, steeling himself. “Let me be… uh, real with you.”

According to the headspace Hinata currently finds himself in, ‘being real’ consists of drawing Komaeda back into another make-out, because that just feels easier and more desirable than trying to articulate the swirling tangle of thoughts in his head. He thinks they probably should’ve dealt with the whole wet clothes situation while they had the chance, because now they’re kind of sticking together where they touch, but then he considers the possibility that they’ll probably be dealing with it pretty soon given the way things are panning out-

Right. He’s supposed to be stepping up.

“Is this… you know... happening?” Hinata murmurs against Komaeda’s lips. They have to get undressed anyway, and Hinata’s already getting hard, embarrassing excuse for a human being that he is. He wonders if Komaeda can feel him.

Komaeda’s quiet for a second. A sharp breath. “Admittedly. I find it hard to believe you’d want… this," Hinata makes himself ignore the little crack in his voice, "Given my… display that night.”

That’s guilt, tense and strung out in Komaeda’s voice, Hinata realises. Which, fair, Komaeda had been kind of a dick, but it wasn’t like either of them had really been bothering to manage the situation in any kind of productive way. It’s not like either of them have been managing much of anything, lately.

“I’m not mad at you, Komaeda,” he says, raising a definitely not trembling hand to skim Komaeda’s cheek, “And if you… want this… then…”

Silence washes over them. Hinata listens to the rain pelt down on the roof, drumming almost quick enough to keep up with his heartbeat - listens to Komaeda breathe.

Komaeda, eventually, lets out a hum. He nips at Hinata’s lower lip, just once, teasing - Hinata’s not especially proud of the way it makes him twitch in his underwear.

“I have been wanting to atone for my poor behaviour.”

Well, Hinata thinks. 

There’s a part of him that he has to force into submission. The part of him that’s all of a sudden really feeling the uncomfortable physical reality of such a long, nightmarish stretch of time exchanging hesitant touches with Komaeda without any proper relief, the part of him that whispers fuck yes let him atone give him what he wants. There’s another part of him that can’t bear the thought of being Komaeda’s atonement, of shame and obligation being what pushes Komaeda into this, and Hinata realises that's probably why he's avoided taking his chances up until now.

“I was actually thinking,” Hinata says, tugging lightly on Komaeda’s chain belt, winding it around slightly shaking fingers, “...Maybe I can do something nice for you?”

He’s depressingly prepared for the little start of surprise Komaeda gives against him. He can tell Komaeda isn’t ready for that suggestion, doesn’t let himself think too deeply about why that might be. “...But you’ve already done so much, Hinata-kun!” He’s overselling it, voice a little too high pitched.

A non-answer. Hinata thinks he’s getting better at not giving Komaeda the satisfaction of rolling with them. “...So is that a ‘no’ or what?” He pretends his hand isn’t shaking when he reaches up, tucking it under the hem of Komaeda’s shirt to rest against the rough scrape of denim, cool skin.

He feels more than hears Komaeda breathe.

“Whatever Hinata-kun would like to do with me,” Komaeda says, finally. There’s a note of uncertainty in his voice, lurking beneath the plain deference.

“I would really like,” Hinata says, “To touch you.” He cringes as he says it, knowing he’s terrible at this, knowing he’s light years away from anything even remotely resembling smooth.

Komaeda doesn’t seem bothered by it, exactly, but his hesitation is palpable enough to quell the heat mounting in Hinata’s stomach. He wonders if he’s pushed it too far, taken beyond that fine line of consideration that overwhelms Komaeda, makes him lash out.

“Would that be okay?” Hinata’s pretty sure this isn’t how you’re meant to go about seducing someone, but it’s not exactly like he has a plan B other than asking direct questions. He knows by now subtlety doesn’t exactly work with Komaeda, not for this. Whatever the hell it is.

“I.” The uncertainty is more pronounced now, a little waver audible in his voice. “Of course, Hinata-kun.” There’s a little uptick on the last syllable of Hinata’s name, almost like Komaeda’s asking a question.

Hinata gets the terrible, lurking feeling that he’s screwed it up again. “...You don’t seem very enthusiastic?”

“Oh!” Komaeda gasps, expression an even split between panic and surprise. “No, that’s not it at all! That someone like you would even think of dirtying your hands by touching me in even the most superficial of ways, let alone something like this… I’d never even dare to dream it.”

Deflecting again. At least Komaeda is as fucking abysmal at flirting as he is, Hinata thinks, fighting the rising urge to pinch the bridge of his nose. “Then what is it?”

“...You burden yourself with so many unnecessary chores for my sake,” Komaeda says. He hesitates, eyes flickering. “It makes me… uncertain.”

Hinata doesn't think that one is empty deflection. “Um,” he says, trying desperately to keep his voice steady, “The thing is. I don’t… really see it as a chore, actually. Like. At all.”

Komaeda looks bewildered. “I…” He swallows. He’s nervous, Hinata realises, head spinning a little. “I fear you finding me tedious.”

Hinata’s pretty sure his own expression is now mirroring Komaeda’s. “You are,” he says, voice halting a little between his words, “Probably the least tedious person I’ve ever met?”

He watches Komaeda bite the inside of his lip for a moment. “...That’s not what you said before.”

“Before?” The flicker of confusion is there and gone, chased away by the memory of a rocking boat. Hinata curses the memory, hates it for existing, hates the feeling that some part of himself ruined his life and left him to deal with the tattered mess he left behind. “Oh, no,” he says, forcing down the sudden crash of nausea, “ No, I… that wasn’t…”

That wasn’t me, he almost says, only he knows that would be a lie.

“I didn’t know you then.” He takes a deep breath. “I... was wrong about what you were.”

“How funny.” Komaeda’s expression indicates that he does not, in fact, find the situation funny. “It seems we both have that experience as far as each other is concerned.”

“Yeah,” Hinata says, “I guess we do.” He almost asks what Komaeda thinks he is now, but he isn’t sure he’s ready to hear the answer. “I don’t think you’re boring, Komaeda. If that’s what you’re worried about.”

Komaeda’s brow creases. “It’s challenging,” he admits, “Reconciling what I know about you.”

“...Would it be better for you?” Hinata asks, “Calling me… thinking of me as Kamukura Izuru?” Part of him wishes he was more horrified at how little the idea really bothers him.

The suggestion clearly surprises Komaeda. “...You would be comfortable with that?”

Hinata shrugs. “Is that how you think of me already?”

There’s a sharpness to Komaeda’s gaze. Hinata kind of feels like he’s being picked apart. “I don’t know what to think of you,” he says.

Hinata can’t help the rueful smile. “That makes two of us, I guess,” he says.

“I don’t understand your intentions ,” Komaeda says. He looks frustrated. It makes Hinata wonder how long it's been bothering him.

Hinata could laugh. Could. “I don’t understand yours .”

Komaeda blinks. “But I’ve always been very transparent about my intentions.”

Hinata just stares at him. “Uh,” he says, “You think so?”

Something like annoyance flickers in Komaeda’s eyes. “I communicate my intentions. Whether or not people choose to listen to me is another matter.”

“Komaeda,” Hinata says, very patiently, “Sometimes you… do things, or... word things in a way that’s… kind of impossible to understand.”

“You act as though your actions are easy to understand.”

Hinata opens his mouth. Closes it again. “I…” he barely manages, “What do you need help understanding?” His lack of game must be worse than he originally thought, because if slaving over a robot hand for a guy, subjecting him to a handful of awkward but really enthusiastic makeouts, and giving him fucking hair elastics on a failure of a maybe-date hasn’t gotten the point across, Hinata isn’t actually sure what will.

Spitting it out, maybe.

Komaeda waves said hand, joints whirring softly. “No matter what I do,” he says, “You still persist. In talking with me, spending time with me. Doing things like-” He curls his robotic fingers into a fist, “This. I’ve spent so much time thinking, trying to understand why, but no amount of thinking helps me understand why.”

His mouth feels dry, all of a sudden - he knows he’s heading into territory he might not be able to retreat from. “I guess,” he says, “At first. I liked being around you. And then I just wanted to understand you. And now…”

Komaeda’s sort of blank-faced. Hinata, not for the first time, thinks he doesn’t like seeing him neutral like that.

He sighs. “And now I guess it’s both? And I just… want to make things better. For once. Instead of…”

Instead of tearing things apart just so I can see how they work.

“But I guess if you want to know my intentions,” Hinata says, “As in, right now. In this moment. I guess…” Fuck it. “This is a date? Maybe?” A really terrible one, but...

Komaeda’s eyes widen. “Ah,” he says, “You’ll have to forgive me, Hinata-kun. I’ve never been on a date, so I didn’t realise what was happening.”

“I’ve never been on one either,” Hinata admits.

“You’ve never-?” Komaeda looks baffled. “But you…”

“I was kind of busy the last few years,” Hinata says, unable to keep his voice from turning dry, “Had other things going on. You know.”

“Why on earth would you waste such a first on me?” He sounds appalled.

Hinata has to try very hard not to visibly react to that. “...Because I wanted to?”

Komaeda stares at him for a long moment. “Are you ill, Hinata-kun?” He actually looks concerned. It might be cute, if it wasn’t so fundamentally horrible.

“What? No, I-” Hinata wishes he’d just kept kissing Komaeda. Hinata’s considering the idea of maybe never opening his stupid mouth again, for as long as he lives. “I don’t have to be sick to want to spend time with you.”

“It’s incomprehensible,” Komaeda insists, “When any of the others would definitely- ”

“If I wanted to ask any of the others out,” Hinata cuts in, “I would’ve asked them.”

“But this is nonsensical.” Komaeda raises his hands, threads his fingers into his hair, expression tortured. “Even if I was worth your spit, I don’t have any idea of what to do on a date. I ruined the date.”

“Well,” Hinata says, carefully, “I mean, maybe it’s not perfect, but it's not like I gave you a heads up or anything. If anything, I'm the one that's screwing it up.” As usual.

“But the rain,” Komaeda says, unhappily, “You’d never have to deal with such terrible luck with one of the others.”

Hinata is actually speechless for a second. “...That wasn’t actually your fault. You get that, right?”

“Of course it was!” He seems impatient, frantic as he obviously is - like he thinks Hinata’s playing dumb on purpose. “Just like the teacup! And countless other disasters!”

“Komaeda,” he says, voice level, “Maybe sometimes a cloud is just a cloud.”

“No,” Komaeda protests, shaking his head so hard his hair fans out a little.

“And a teacup is just a teacup,” Hinata presses, “And a cut is just a cut.”

“No.” His voice is barely above a whisper. Hinata’s throat tightens at how dark Komaeda’s eyes are, all of a sudden. His voice climbs, in pitch, in volume. “ No. You don’t understand, this can’t be happening -

Hinata swallows as he takes a step forward - he knows a derailing train when he sees it, knows Komaeda is about to go sailing right off whatever edge he’s currently hurtling towards. “Komaeda,” he says, trying to keep his voice steady, failing.

It’s only another second before he has Komaeda backed up against the door, all big terrified eyes and pale skin. “ Something terrible will happen.”

Hinata takes a breath. “What if it doesn’t?”

“It will .”

“You don’t know that-” Hinata reaches for him.

Don’t touch me.”

Komaeda raises his hands, throws them up between them like a shield, like he’s scared Hinata just laying his hands on him will hurt him. It’s probably exactly what he’s frightened of, Hinata realises - that Hinata just touching him will trigger some catastrophe. “It’s the only thing I know. You’re being careless about what you think are minor accidents because you can afford to be.” He lets out a shaky exhale. “ Everyone’s been taken from me.”

“I’m still here,” Hinata says, softly.

“For reasons I can’t comprehend,” Komaeda says, “I have explained this to you, Hinata-kun. They’re minor accidents until they stop being so minor. If harm were to come to you because… if I lost you, I-”

He lets out a sharp exhale, slaps a hand over his own mouth with a soft smack. It’s the kind of thing that probably should’ve hurt, but Hinata can tell Komaeda’s too worked up to even feel it, can tell it had cost Komaeda something to let that half-sentence leave his mouth.

They’re getting somewhere. Hinata just hates that it hurts so much.

“I’m not going anywhere, Komaeda,” he says, “You don’t have to be afraid.”

Komaeda’s avoiding eye contact, which is a terrible sign.“You shouldn’t make those kinds of promises, Hinata-kun.”

“Why not?”

“It’s foolish,” Komaeda says, “And more significantly, dangerous for you .”

“You said you didn’t want to push me away anymore.”

Komaeda’s eyes waver as he looks at Hinata, a frightened creature cowering in the underbrush.

Hinata takes a breath. “If that’s your intention… then I want to be closer to you, too, Komaeda.”

Komaeda’s quiet for a second, eyes taking on a peculiar gloss. Then he breathes out a laugh. There’s no humour to it - it sounds almost angry. Bitter, maybe, Hinata thinks. “There’s nothing left of me, Hinata-kun. There’s not even enough left of me to cast a shadow in your light.”

Hinata doesn’t know where the impulse comes from, but it seizes him rough and hard, like a hand forcing its way into his chest, squeezing his heart against his ribcage, muddling the beat. He closes his eyes, because there’s no other way he can steel himself for what he’s about to do.

He reaches his hands out, feels out Komaeda’s wrists with gentle hands.

He hears Komaeda suck in a breath, try to tug his hands out of Hinata’s grip. “I told you-”

“Komaeda. Please.”

Another breath. The apprehension is so thick Hinata almost chokes on it. The tension of Komaeda trying to rip himself out of Hinata’s grip unwinds, and Hinata’s left standing with his eyes closed, hands curled about Komaeda’s wrists. He guides Komaeda’s hands up so that his fingers slip into his hair. The robotic fingers are cold against his scalp, but Hinata doesn’t especially mind - he has more confronting things to consider.

“What-?” Komaeda sounds too taken aback to be panicked anymore. Good, Hinata thinks - maybe. He hopes.

“Can you feel them?”

It takes Komaeda a moment to answer. “...Feel what?” At some point, Hinata can’t remember when, they’ve both started whispering.

“You must be able to feel them.” Hinata doesn’t touch them himself often, tries to avoid it as much as he can, but he’s done it enough to know they’re obvious, buried under his hair.

Fingers move against his scalp. He’s sure that Komaeda’s making a mess of his hair, tentative as the touch is, but it’s nothing to Hinata, not now.

Eyes closed, his hearing is sharpened. He listens to Komaeda swallow, a low, wet sound.

Time feels slow around them, viscous and tangible, settling in Hinata’s lungs.

“...Ah.” Hinata can hear the struggle in Komaeda’s voice, how small it sounds.

There it is. Hinata thinks he’d feel less vulnerable naked in front of Komaeda.

“No one else has touched them,” Hinata says, “Since… since it happened. Only you.”

A shaky breath. Komaeda says nothing.

“Sometimes I feel like there's nothing left of me, too,” Hinata says, “Just a bunch of scars and… and pieces of something that used to be a real person.”

Part of him is afraid of what he’ll see when he opens his eyes. He makes himself do it, because he knows he can’t stand here with his eyes shut and block out the world forever, much as some part of him wants to. Komaeda is stark pale, eyelashes dewy with tears. Still, his fingers trace abstract shapes across Hinata’s scars, even as they stare at each other. Komaeda doesn’t flinch away from the scars, and that’s kind of funny in an awful, sickening way, when he can’t even bear to touch them himself.

“I don’t understand ,” Komaeda whispers.

“Me neither,” Hinata says, “But maybe that’s not important.” He knows his fingers are digging into Komaeda’s wrists - knows that they’re converging, that maybe they’ve been converging this whole time, that eventually, they have to meet, or ricochet off one another. He’d told Tsumiki that the only choice was to go forward at the end. He hadn’t been able to bear the idea of telling her the truth, that there’s always another possibility.

They can always fall apart.

“Maybe I’m,” his voice is starting to tremble, now, because he knows he’s fretted with the loose link in the chain of his composure too much, and if it all comes crashing down around him, so be it, “Sick and tired , of trying to understand everything, or- or pretending like I do. Maybe I’m sick and tired of going to sleep and wondering if tomorrow I’m going to wake up and find out that it wasn’t real again.”

The only thing that’s keeping him from crumbling entirely is the feeling of Komaeda’s fingers, stroking at his scalp.

“Maybe I’m sick ,” the sob rips through his chest, making his breath stutter, “And fucking tired, of knowing that so many people have tried to play god with my head, and knowing that I let them do it, and knowing that I have fucking nothing to show for it, that nobody wanted me before and nobody needs me now, and that the only time I really mattered to anybody was when I-”

He pulls at Komaeda’s hands, forcing them flat against his scalp. Part of him thinks how nice it would be, if Komaeda were to break his neck. How he’d welcome it, the only real way he’ll ever be able to block any of it out properly. Komaeda, still, doesn’t seem to have anything to give to Hinata in the way of words - just teary eyes and an almost-frown, like Hinata’s a puzzle he can’t make sense of. He certainly feels like it, pieces of a jigsaw puzzle kicked across the floor.

“Sometimes part of me wishes I could go back,” Hinata tells him, “And just be… ordinary, again.”

Komaeda sucks in a breath. There’s something on his face - close to panic, Hinata thinks, or maybe pain, like Hinata’s reached out and slapped him. It looks like he’s going to say something, for a moment, but the little sound in the back of his throat fizzles out, and Hinata’s left with the silence again.

“But I can’t,” he says, “I made a choice. And maybe I have to live with things the way they are, or maybe it’s just- programming. Deprogramming. Forever. Maybe I’m still in a lab, or asleep in a pod on an island, or… wherever I am. And maybe I wake up tomorrow and none of it was real. Or I remember another part of myself someone forced me to forget.” When he swallows it feels like he’s forcing a razor blade down his throat. “And it all changes again.”

The last time Komaeda was silent for this long, Hinata thinks, he’d been dead.

“But you’re real,” Hinata keeps going, because he has to, now, even if he’s really not sure of what he’s even saying, “Or at least… you feel real to me. And you make me feel…”

Fucked up, are the words that want to come out of his mouth, but he knows in his battered heart he could never make Komaeda understand that he doesn’t mean it in a bad way.

“You talk so much about bad luck and accidents and… and being a catastrophe. So if you’re a catastrophe,” Hinata says, “And I was never meant to exist… what if we’re both mistakes, Komaeda?”

He hisses a little when Komaeda, expression still frozen, curls his fingers into Hinata’s hair, pulling hard enough to hurt. It’s not enough to make him stop. Not nearly enough.

“What if you were right when you said we’re the same?” he whispers.

“Stop.” The first word Komaeda gives him. “Stop it, Hinata-kun.” His fingers tug again. It makes Hinata’s eyelashes flutter.

“Why?” He’s pushing Komaeda to breaking point. He knows it. He just doesn’t know if he can stop.

“Because this is nonsense.” His voice is rough with desperation, high with pleading. “It’s crazy .”

The fact that it’s Komaeda saying that to him makes him want to laugh. Scream, maybe.

“And you’re wrong,” Komaeda says. His voice comes out croaky, like he hasn’t spoken in years and his throat muscles are on their way to petrifying.

“About what?”

“About… about no one needing you.”

The words cut him. Hinata knows he hadn’t meant it that way, but Komaeda may as well have reached out and torn his chest apart, outwards from the centre, like he's opening a book.

“Komaeda,” he says around a tired laugh. “What are you doing to me?”

“Damaging you.” He’s deathly serious about it, eyes dark, voice grim. “I’m poison, why can’t you see -”

“You’re terrified,” Hinata cuts in.

“Yes!” A note of frustration cuts splinters in his voice, makes it crack a little. “It seems you’ve finally realised!”

“Do I scare you, Komaeda?” It’s an awful, sickening thing to think about. Komaeda shrinks back against the door. Hinata thinks again about how hard he’s pushing. Part of him is screaming for him to stop, that he’s going to fuck this entire thing up, maybe in a way he won’t be able to fix. That all he’s going to do is shove Komaeda so hard he ends up going over the edge of whatever misguided, broken mechanism inside of him that keeps him so fixated on Hinata, so faithful in circling back to him no matter how hard Hinata tries to push him away.

Maybe it’s better that way. Maybe it’s better if Komaeda lets himself accept the truth. Maybe it’s better if Komaeda walks away.

Komaeda swallows. Hard. Wets his lips with an anxious tongue.

“It’s frightening to love something.”

There’s a dizzying moment where Hinata’s pretty sure he’s going to fall. He knows, rationally, that he’ll hit the floor at some point, but part of him thinks once he falls he won’t stop, that whatever black abyss is trying to worm its way inside of him is too eager to swallow him whole.

“God.” It’s completely hollowed out. “How can you say that?

“If you didn’t want to hear it,” Komaeda sounds resentful - angry, maybe, “Then you shouldn’t have forced me to say it, Hinata-kun.”

He lets out a shaky breath. “How could you possibly…”

“How can you ask me that,” Komaeda says, “When everyone loves you?”

Hinata barks out a tired laugh. “The worthless reserve course student?”

Komaeda’s eyes flash. “No one sees you that way.”

“Yeah.” Hinata tilts his head. “Except you .”

“I don’t,” Komaeda says, voice sinking low, thick with something that sounds like guilt. He lets out a shaky breath, and the next time he speaks, his voice is impossibly small. “I tried to.”

“Didn’t seem like you needed to try very hard at all.”

“Have you decided you want to accept all the deflections that you so graciously cut through, Hinata-kun?” Komaeda asks, “Because if you would like to revert back to that fiction and pretend those conversations didn’t happen, I wouldn’t object. I would understand.

“We don’t get to hit rewind on this,” Hinata almost growls.

“Why not?” Hinata hates the complacency on his face.

“Because if that was a thing that I could do,” Hinata says, trying and failing to keep the snap of anger from leaking into his voice, “I would’ve done it by now.”

“I could make it,” Komaeda whispers, “So easy for you, Hinata-kun. All you have to do is ask.”

“Do you really expect me to buy that?” Hinata demands, “After what we just woke up from? After how hard I tried to get you to leave me the fuck alone?”

Komaeda presses his lips together in a thin line. Hinata can tell he hadn’t been expecting a counter.

“Sorry, Komaeda,” he says, “But that’s bullshit, and you know it.”

Komaeda has the grace to at least look admonished. “Well. I’ve never pretended to be anything but a wretched, selfish creature, Hinata-kun,” he trills. He tilts his head back against the door, smirking a little, exposing his pale throat in doing so.

He claws himself back into focus. “So why are you trying this now?”

“Because it’s better that you’re not near me,” Komaeda says, “I have explained this to you. All I am is a dead end.”

“Then walk away !” Hinata cries, feeling like he’s boiling over, like he’s powerless to stop it, “You talk so much shit about being unworthy of being in my presence and how it’s better I’m not around you - what’s stopping you, Komaeda? I’ve never asked you to stay, or… or tried to make you stay. If you don’t want to be around me, then don’t.”

“Of course I want to be around you,” Komaeda says, quietly. There’s a steadiness to his voice, despite its softness

“This may sound really fucking wild to you,” Hinata says, “But I want to be around you, too.”

“You’re not listening to me-”

“I am listening,” Hinata says, and then, softer, “And I’m saying it’s worth the risk.”

The frankness seems to be enough to knock Komaeda off course for a second, arching back from Hinata, eyes wide. Then his expression sharpens. “What?” He breathes out a laugh, soft, desperate. “What is it that you could possibly want from me, then, Hinata-kun? What is it that you think I can give you, that’s worth the risk? What is it that makes me so-” he almost spits the word, “ Special?”

“No one’s ever made me feel the way you make me feel,” Hinata says.

“So disgusted ?” Komaeda coos, craning his head back with a smirk.

“Stop doing that,” Hinata snaps, “Stop throwing that kind of stuff at me-”

“These are things you yourself have said to me-”

“I didn’t understand you-”

“You don’t understand me now -”

“Then let me try!” His own voice comes out loud enough to startle him - he realises that they’ve both been shouting, wonders if their voices are carrying. His voice cracks a little, as he tries to force it quieter. “That’s all I want, Komaeda. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.”

“What a wonderful, devastatingly hopeful thought!” His lashes are dewy again, Hinata realises. “Being such a novelty to you!”

“...You’re angry at me,” Hinata observes. Figures - he could’ve worded that better.

“I am ecstatic,” breathes Komaeda, a giggle rippling through his voice. It’s a little eerie. “Even if you’re obviously lying. Or maybe you aren’t, but this will only be temporary.”

Frustration sparks to life, burning low in Hinata’s veins. “Yeah, well, you don’t get to decide that.”

“I know that novelty will only carry me so far,” Komaeda coos, the smile that winds across his face raw in its honesty and sharp enough to hurt.

“You’re not just a fucking novelty!” Hinata snaps. He’d back Komaeda up against the door again, only he’s already shoved up against it as far as he can go. “You mean something! Why can’t you just let yourself?!”

“Because you’re asking something impossible of me!” Komaeda’s almost shouting, again. It’s still so strange to hear.

“What?” Hinata frowns as he glances up at Komaeda. “ What’s impossible?”

Komaeda takes a breath, the harsh light in his eyes wavering. He gazes beyond Hinata for a moment, opens his mouth like he’s about to say something. Closes it again. Hinata almost tells him not worry about it, because just looking at Komaeda like this is making anxiety flare up in his own chest.

Then Komaeda opens his mouth and says in a soft, hesitant voice, “I don’t know how to mean something.”

Hinata doesn’t quite know what to say to that. “...It’s not,” he says, “A skill. Or a thing you do. You just… exist.”

Komaeda laughs. It’s a dead sounding thing. “Nothing good has ever come from me ‘just existing’, Hinata-kun.”

“You’re wrong.” He forces his voice steady.

Komaeda laughs again, reedier this time, craning his head back so that it thunks gently against the door. “Stop it.”

“You’re wrong,” Hinata presses.

“This is just you giving people what they need, Hinata-kun.” Komaeda keeps staring up at the ceiling. He almost sounds bored , Hinata thinks at first, but when he speaks again, he realises the flatness to his voice is nothing more than artificial detachment. “I appreciate the fiction of meaningfulness you’re trying to create for me, but I’m aware that it’s nothing more than fiction, so you should save yourself the trouble.”

“Maybe not everything is about you ,” Hinata snaps. “Maybe I’m trying to give myself what I need.”

Silence winds around them for a second. Slowly, Komaeda lowers his head, eyes bright and wavering like sunlight rippling through water. “And what is that, Hinata-kun?”

You, Hinata wants to spit out, it’s always been you , when I woke up to your stupid face on that beach, when I knew there was no chance for us, when I knew there was .

“I actually felt normal today. With you,” he says instead, voice raspy, exhausted, feeling like his throat is creaking with every sound, “And now we…” He swallows. It does nothing to soothe the burning feeling. “I just want something to feel fucking normal. For once. And I think that you...”

There it is again - that expression, like Hinata’s struck him across the face, eyes tortured, lips parted like he wants to speak. Hinata doesn’t know what it is, but he thinks it probably isn’t a positive emotion.

He lets out a weak laugh, lungs almost groaning as it leaves him. “That must sound so fucking stupid to you,” he says, “Wanting to be just… some ordinary trash . After… after everything .”

Komaeda just keeps staring at him. Hinata feels a surge of self-loathing - of course Komaeda’s appalled at him, it’s not like Komaeda hasn’t been enthusiastic in letting Hinata know exactly how he feels about the idea of being ordinary.

The laugh that escapes Hinata sounds more like a growl, stuck in the back of his throat. “Honestly?” he says, “I don’t know why you bother with me.”

Komaeda, still, is silent. For a dizzying, frightening second Hinata feels terror rising in his gut, because maybe this isn’t real, maybe this is just another simulation, and Komaeda is glitching out, frozen in place. The wheezing exhale Komaeda lets out derails his anxiety, and he’s even angrier at himself, for letting himself be irrational enough to even entertain a fear like that.

Still, Komaeda says nothing, not even when his laughter tapers away. Hinata feels his face burning, not out of embarrassment this time, but something closer to shame, that he’d ever thought he could make this work.

“You...” He smiles, even as his eyes well up with tears, because it’s the only thing he can manage. “You can’t even say anything.” A tear breaks free, tickles him enough to make him shiver as it runs down his cheek. “Not that I blame-”

He cuts off with a sharp breath when Komaeda wrenches him forward. Hinata only gets a flash of dark, desperate eyes before Komaeda surges up against him, doesn’t kiss him so much as he bites him, teeth and desperation and something frantic, something that feels mindless, almost dark.

“How could you ever doubt that you’re real ,” Komaeda says, voice a frantic, almost panicked murmur between harsh breaths, “When-”

Hinata hisses when Komaeda digs his fingers into his shoulders where Hinata’s shirt has slipped down. It takes a second for the static of initial contact fade and for the pain to set in, burning and sharp, and Hinata realises Komaeda must have used his robot hand to claw at him.

“Komaeda-”

“That I’m alive,” Komaeda’s voice hitches - Hinata feels him tremble, feels the damp stain of foreign tears pressed up against cheek, mingling with his own, “Is because of-”

Komaeda -”

“That the only reason I’m anything is because of-” His words stutter to a halt with a desperate, shaky inhale, and judging from the way he’s clinging to Hinata with bruising fingers, Hinata’s sure he’s struggling to stand, let alone keep speaking.

“Please,” Hinata rasps out, dizzy again as he feels himself begin to unravel right into Komaeda, words tumbling from his lips before he can even really process them, “Please, I need you-”

Hinata-kun- ” It comes out as a whimper. Hinata feels his head spin harder, feels Komaeda’s fingers digging into his shoulder blade again, “ Don’t -”

“Harder,” Hinata almost begs, voice gravel in his own ears, “Make me feel-”

It doesn’t feel normal, exactly, standing like this, Komaeda’s fingers tearing at Hinata’s skin, shaking so hard with the effort not to completely lose himself to his tears that he can’t even kiss Komaeda properly, but them clinging to each other like this makes something click into place in a part of himself he doesn’t even really comprehend.

Komaeda jerks a shaky exhale out of him when he reaches out with his mismatched hands and grabs Hinata by his belt loops, guiding him forward until Hinata’s pressed up against him, hip bones digging into hip bones. The situation’s gotten to both of them, clearly - Hinata has to bite his lip around a groan when he grinds up against Komaeda, pushing him back into the door.

“Sorry,” he breathes, even as he presses his mouth to Komaeda’s again.

“Why?” Komaeda says back, compliant enough to tilt his head back when Hinata trails his lips down his jawline.

“I don’t know,” Hinata says, pausing in between kisses, “I’m being too eager?”

“This is eager?”

Hinata stiffens. “Don’t provoke me.” He doesn’t exactly mean for it to sound like a warning.

“Or what?”

“Komaeda.”

Komaeda scratches him again, sharp fingertips raking over oozing blood. Hinata’s beyond it.

It’s obscene, probably, the way a dark little thrill pulses in his belly when he pins Komaeda up against the door by his thin shoulders and sinks his teeth into the soft skin of his throat. Komaeda lets out a broken little gasp, sharp against Hinata’s ears, so he closes his eyes and digs his teeth in again, shaking with nerves and adrenaline even as he bites a messy path down to Komaeda’s sharp collarbone.

“I need you,” he breathes out, soothing Komaeda’s abused skin with his lips for a moment, “So,” Komaeda lets out a pathetic, hitching little noise when Hinata bites his collarbone, hard, Bad -”

Komaeda’s answering whimper gets swallowed up by a deep, shaky exhale, and Hinata has to force himself to disengage from the part of him that needs to keep biting and scratching at Komaeda, needs to keep sinking lower and lower, dirtying his hands until he finds the part of Komaeda that’s most vulnerable. He straightens up so he can get a look at Komaeda’s face, finds him leaning back against the door with his eyes closed, lips parted as he breathes.

“...Is that okay?” Dread flickers in his belly, thick enough to keep his words from coming out as anything above a shaky whisper - he needs it to be okay, as much as he needs Komaeda-

Komaeda opens his eyes, a slow, almost cautious flicker of his pale lashes. His eyes are still wet, but darker, now, big and fathomless enough that staring directly into them makes Hinata’s head spin.

“I…” It looks painful for Komaeda to swallow, Hinata thinks. A tear strays when he gives a rapid blink. He lets out another whimper, and Hinata takes in a breath, skimming the back of his hand across Komaeda’s cheek, wiping the stray tear away.

Finally, Komaeda nods, and for such a would-be innocuous gesture, it feels like Komaeda’s shoved his hand right into Hinata’s chest, pressing down on his heart with enough force to wring all the blood from it it.

“Okay,” Hinata says, as much for himself as for Komaeda, voice feeling like broken shards of porcelain stuck in his throat, “Okay.”

He’s gentler, this time, when he moves forward, pressing their lips together and leaning all the way back into him. He’d half-expected Komaeda’s acceptance to send him into a deeper frenzy, but he's like dry wood, all but consumed, content to splinter and crack in showers of ember until he's nothing but steady flame, bright and tall enough to etch scorch marks into the ceiling. His hands are shaking as he sets them about Komaeda’s hips, but it feels good to slow it down, he thinks - it makes sense.

Komaeda’s still shaking under his touch. Hinata slips one hand up under his shirt to rub soothing touches into his hip, shifting the other one up to press up against Komaeda’s zipper. He has the delirious thought that he might actually be burning up, has to be, because Komaeda feels so cool beneath his hands.

“Ah…”

“Can I…?”

“You don’t have to ask for permission for every little thing, Hinata-kun.” Komaeda sounds amused. Hinata doesn’t find it especially funny, but he’s glad that Komaeda’s obviously a little more present in the moment.

“Well, I want to,” Hinata insists, pressing his lips to Komaeda’s jaw, “And I’m going to keep doing it. So you’d better get used to it.”

Komaeda hums. “You’re always so kind to me.” He says it like it’s a novelty, even if he’s made the same observation what feels like a thousand times.

Someone has to be,” Hinata says, dropping that line of conversation in favour of focusing on getting Komaeda’s jeans off. His attempt to do it one handed fails, and he deeply regrets that he has to pull back from Komaeda a little, eyes narrowing as he fidgets with the button.

“I can-”

“I’ve got it,” Hinata insists. It feels like it takes ten years, and every second is excruciating, knowing that Komaeda is watching. He curses his stupid, nervous hands as he manages to unsnap Komaeda’s button, finally. Victory.

“You’re up,” he blurts as he finishes dragging the zip down, eager to move on from that little hiccup.

The jeans are still damp, clinging to Komaeda’s thighs a little as he peels them off. Hinata’s stomach sinks at the return of pink gouges, something he’d managed to forget about in all the chaos. He breathes out a sigh, pressing hand against the concave of Komaeda’s stomach, palm brushing up against the elastic of his underwear.

Hinata blinks. Something isn’t right. Something else.

“Are these dry?”

“Always!” is Komaeda’s cheery response.

Hinata almost asks. Almost . He kisses him instead, openmouthed, shooting for insistent, probably ending up somewhere closer to rhythmless and unnecessarily drooly. Komaeda doesn’t seem to mind, though, a tiny, contented noise escaping his throat. The lack of rhythm isn’t so bad, Hinata guesses. There’s something about the languid pace that calms him down, despite the rapid fire beat of his heart, makes him feel like he’s melting into Komaeda’s body even as he slips a hand into Komaeda’s hair. Komaeda makes that contented noise again when Hinata rubs gentle circles into his scalp.

“This?” He taps Komaeda’s thigh with his other hand. “This is bad. No more of this. Okay?”

Komaeda glances down. “...I didn’t do that to myself .” He says it like he’s astonished Hinata would even contemplate the prospect, like he hasn’t both deliberately sawed a limb off and gutted himself in the time Hinata’s technically known him.

Hinata squints at him.

Komaeda leans back, gaze turning plaintive. “I didn’t! I swear, Hinata-kun!”

“Okay. Sure. So enlighten me as to how you ended up with these?”

“Well.” Komaeda tilts his head. “There was a serial killer.”

“A serial killer.” His first instinct is to be incredulous, even with his hand pretty much shoved down Komaeda’s underwear - but this is Komaeda he’s talking to, for whom being tossed into the garbage immediately prior to winning the lottery was actually relatively a tame occurrence. “And he went for your thighs?” It’s totally absurd. Hinata can probably relate.

“She,” Komaeda corrects, “I think it was a warning.” He sounds way too nonchalant. “At least, I hope it was. What a disappointing attempt at a fatal blow that would’ve been. She missed the femoral arteries and everything.

“Uh,” Hinata says, faintly, “Yeah. That. Sure is disappointing.”

He can tell this conversation is heading exactly nowhere. He swallows whatever Komaeda’s about to say next with a firm, insistent mouth, nipping at his lower lip with sharp teeth as extra incentive to shut up, please. Komaeda seems content to forget about serial killers and the prospect of being murdered for the moment, slinging his arms around Hinata’s waist and opening up for him with a little sigh. Komaeda is way less difficult when he’s being made out with. Hinata once again bitterly laments his appalling lack of Komaeda Management Strategies in the Program.

Eventually he realises Komaeda is trying to push him backwards.

“...On the desk?” Hinata blurts, with a little jolt of surprise.

“Oh. No?” Komaeda sounds equally surprised. “...Is that where you want to do it?”

“I mean,” Hinata says, because like he knows what he’s doing, anyway, “The desk is... fine, I guess-” The desk, upon further reflection, is probably not fine, because there’s paper and old plastic bottles and all assorted kinds of junk on there, and wow, has he always been so messy? Komaeda seems like the kind of person who hates mess.

“But if you’d be more comfortable in another place...”

“Maybe," Hinata says, “The bed would be better?” Maybe? He can all too easily envision this devolving into a twenty minute discussion concerning the pros and cons of every available surface in Hinata’s room, and he’s just not in the mood. He thanks his lucky stars that he’d managed to find the energy to change his sheets in the morning. He’s pretty sure it’s his only saving grace, given that the bed is a tangled mess of evidence betraying how restless and chaotic his sleep has been lately. He’s kind of embarrassed - he’d bet an entire fistful of Jabba Pearls that Komaeda diligently makes his bed every single morning. Komaeda probably thinks he’s gross.

He almost wishes they were doing this in Komaeda’s room, paint smell and all.

“Understood.” Komaeda smiles at him. It’s different to what Hinata’s used to, between the rising colour on his cheeks and slight darkness to his eyes, more like the Komaeda who is sometimes unkind enough to insert himself into Hinata’s dreams and leave him waking up to a load of dirty laundry. “Then can I continue, Hinata-kun?” Hinata’s about to ask what he means, but then Komaeda grabs the hem of his now-drying t-shirt, and-

“Uh,” is the only response Hinata is capable of giving. His brain jams, watching Komaeda peel his shirt off, thin fabric creeping up over the flat of his stomach and the sharp relief of his ribcage, slow enough to be torturous. Hinata’s so used to forcing himself not to stare that he almost looks away, has to catch himself before he does, because he can’t let himself affirm Komaeda’s beliefs. Not when he’s made it this far.

So he stares. It’s hard, on some level, to see Komaeda exposed like this, painful, almost. When he used to think about Komaeda in the sim, they’d been gentler thoughts, like Komaeda would be soft under his hands, even after everything had gone wrong. He doesn’t entertain those kinds of thoughts anymore, not since he’d taken the first steps to hover over Komaeda’s pod and seen him, really seen him, a gaunt, pale thing under fluorescent lights, withering away at the end of a feeding tube. Semi regular meals and exposure to sunlight have done him some good, but if Hinata lets himself linger on it for too long, he always ends up struck by how frail Komaeda looks, like his only defence are his sharp edges, skin pulled taut over sharp ribs and shoulders and clavicles. Hinata has the dizzy thought that Komaeda might hurt to touch, now, like if he wasn’t careful about it he’d wound himself on Komaeda’s pronounced edges.

Hinata still wants to touch him - maybe needs to touch him, if the way his hands twitch at his sides just looking at him is any indication. He wants to lay his hands across Komaeda’s ribs, dig his fingers into his hip bones hard enough to bruise, press his lips to the sharp edge of his cheek, and if Komaeda were to wound him, he doesn’t think he’d mind at all.

“You’re disgusted,” Komaeda observes. He makes no effort to cover himself, even as he says it, like he’d been expecting Hinata to be repulsed, like he welcomes it.

“No,” Hinata’s says, softly, “I’m not.” He’d looked so different, in his swimsuit, what feels like a million years ago. It’s just, it’s easier to hold onto delusions of Komaeda being at least somewhat okay when Hinata isn’t being confronted with the knowledge that he could physically count all of Komaeda’s ribs if he wanted to. Easier not to focus on the air of neglect Komaeda carries, whittled down by dark years and the loneliness that Hinata knows about but hates to think of.

He lets out a deep exhale, dredged all the way from the bottom of his lungs. He’s accepted the reality that his hands are probably going to shake the entire time, reaching out to set them on Komaeda’s thin shoulders. Despite the colour dusted across his cheeks, Komaeda’s skin still feels peculiar and cold beneath his hands. Innocuous as the touch is, it makes Hinata’s heart get stuck in his throat.

It’s a struggle to speak. “You look. Different . Is all.”

“I suppose I must.” He shrugs. “I’ve always been physically repulsive, but it was probably easier to look at me the way I was before.” His smile is thin. “I look very… chewed up and spat out, now.”

“You’re not physically repulsive,” Hinata says, meaning it, for the scant amount of good it will do as far as changing Komaeda’s mind goes. Then he decides to double down on it, because while he’s here, and they’re both swiftly heading towards nakedness, and all. “And...I always thought you were nice to look at.”

Komaeda lets out a soft laugh. “You don’t have to lie to protect my self esteem, Hinata-kun.”

“I’m not,” Hinata insists.

Komaeda looks unconvinced. Hinata sighs, pressing the back of his hand to his slightly sweaty forehead. “Like.” He’s a mess, he thinks, as he gestures to the situation that is currently, ostentatiously transpiring in his jeans. “Come on.”

“...A compelling argument, yes,” is Komaeda’s eventual response, eyes darkening a little.

Hinata wants to laugh, because they’re both beyond help. He doesn’t, but he must smirk, or something, because Komaeda tilts his head, looking faintly bemused, and asks, “What’s funny?”

You are,” Hinata tells him.

Me ?” His eyes are wide with astonishment.

Hinata shakes his head. “Don’t worry about it,” he says, “Just-” He clears his throat. “Should we maybe…?” He waves a hand in the general direction of the bed.

That makes it feel real - realer still when Komaeda, after hesitation plays out across his face, holds his hand out for Hinata. Hinata takes it, linking his own fingers in with the cold, crowding up against him until they’re close enough to kiss. Somehow, even with neither of them paying attention, they manage to make it to the bed without tripping or falling. Hinata gets as far as getting a knee on the mattress before he makes the mistake of looking down at Komaeda, weight resting on his elbows with his back arched, and he realises he’s way overdressed.

“Oh,” he says, numbly, “Give me a second... I should probably-”

Komaeda’s eyebrows shoot up when Hinata reaches up to undo his first button. There’s a prickle of self consciousness, and then Hinata has to look down and pretend he’s really struggling with getting his shirt undone, and can’t possibly look at Komaeda looking at him, even if he wanted to. He chances a glance upwards when he has his shirt shrugged off, finds Komaeda there with his eyebrows still raised, shoulders tense like he’s bracing for something.

“It’s not that exciting,” Hinata grumbles, knowing for a fact that he’s some blinding shade of red as he skims his fingers across the waistband of his jeans.

Isn’t it,” is Komaeda’s polite, very restrained response. Hinata can tell he’s trying to play it cool, too, which is a small comfort. “Would you like me to look away?” The thought is clearly distressing for him, judging from the wounded expression he’s doing a terrible job of concealing.

Hinata thinks about it for a second. “No,” he says, trying very hard to sound extremely cool and composed and like he’s totally unflustered by Komaeda staring at him as he strips down. He is staring, Hinata thinks, eyes round and dark (oh god) as they peer at him from beneath his drying bangs. Something blows in his chest - he’s not annoyed, exactly, just kind of overwhelmed. “Is it really that hopeful?” he asks, remembering Komaeda’s florid response to his wet shirt.

“Don’t tease, Hinata-kun,” Komaeda says, and Hinata wonders what he’s actually being chided for. Keyed up as he is, he just barely manages to avoid rolling his eyes as he tugs his zipper down (Komaeda is still Komaeda, he figures - his finer qualities, and the more annoying ones). It’s not like he was trying to make a big production of getting (mostly) naked anyway, he reasons as he peels his jeans down over his hips.

Komaeda bites his lip. Hinata almost misses the soft noise Komaeda lets out, somewhere deep in his throat. He feels his cock stiffen, and is suddenly struck by an intense need to rip his jeans off the rest of the way and have them anywhere but physically on him, self consciousness be damned. He barely even registers the thud as they hit the floor, already busying himself in climbing up onto the bed. He settles himself over Komaeda’s lap and trying to pretend his heart isn’t beating hard enough to shatter his rib cage with the way Komaeda is looking at him.

It’s hard not to buckle under how suffocating it feels all of a sudden, straddling Komaeda in his underwear like this, the closest they’ve gotten to anything.

“Pink,” is Komaeda’s cogent observation, after a moment of silence. He reaches out with a hand to touch Hinata’s underwear, traces a few of the flowers with his fingertips. Hinata can tell the touch isn’t meant to be sexy, but having Komaeda’s hands on him right there makes something in his brain snap.

“Yeah?” he croaks, hoping he sounds vaguely intelligible, “What about it?”

“...It isn’t what I pictured,” Komaeda admits.

Hinata almost groans - Komaeda is way too casual about this shit. “What did you picture?”

“Mm.” Hinata almost leaps out of his skin when Komaeda shifts his hand, stroking light, teasing fingertips over Hinata’s hard on, which is doing its best to strain right out of his underwear. “This, mostly.”

Hinata’s brain snaps again. “Oh,” he says, voice rough, all of a sudden, “Yeah?”

“Mmmhmm.” Komaeda’s lashes look lighter, more fragile, against how dark his eyes suddenly are.

“That’s,” Hinata says, helplessly.

“You know, Hinata-kun.” Hinata’s spine pulls taut like a bow when Komaeda flattens his palm out, cool touch stroking over his abs and pulling a little shiver out of him. “You're not the only one who looks different.”

Hinata can’t help but snort, even as his skin prickles all over. “You think you’ve been subtle about that?”

“Do you think I was trying to be subtle?” Komaeda counters.

Hinata tries very hard to look unimpressed. “What were you trying to do?”

The smile Komaeda gives him is more smirk than anything else. He doesn’t say anything, but he doesn’t have to, when he trails his hand down, just barely skimming his touch over Hinata’s cock, making Hinata’s skin prickle and his heart thump. Komaeda drops his hand, gaze bordering on droll as he glances back up at Hinata.

Hinata takes a breath.

“So,” he says, unable to keep himself from glancing off to the side for a second, because he feels desperately silly all of a sudden, “I’m… not exactly, you know… great. At this.”

Komaeda looks surprised by this assertion. “Why do you say that?”

Hinata pauses, taken aback. Then breathes out a helpless laugh through his nose. “I have no idea what I’m doing, Komaeda. Can’t you tell?”

Komaeda tilts his head. “It’s not as though we’ve done much.

Hinata rakes a hand through his hair. “Yeah, that’s... kinda the point I was trying to make.”

“You over-complicate things.”

Hinata has to laugh. “I over-complicate things?”

Komaeda settles back on his elbows. Looks up at Hinata through his lashes. “I’m much easier than you seem to think I am, Hinata-kun.”

Hinata figures if he swallows as hard as he possibly can, it might buy him enough time to think of an appropriate response to that. It doesn’t. “Oh,” is the only, strangled sound he can manage.

“So you see,” Komaeda says, mildly, “There’s really no need to be so worried.”

Hinata appreciates Komaeda making the effort to comfort him - he really does. “Oh, we.” Hinata clears his throat as another item of concern decides to grace him. “Ah. Probably lube would be good, right?” Probably.

Komaeda gives a light shrug. Right, Hinata thinks - he's about to (touch wood) get off with the guy who thinks anaesthetic is unnecessary for surgery. Of course he's ambivalent. “Not if it’s a bother.”

Hinata pauses. "Isn’t it the whole point of lube to make things less… bothersome?”

“I don’t need it,” Komaeda assures him.

“Well,” Hinata says, fighting what feels like a losing battle to remain calm, “I think I’d be more comfortable with it.” Komaeda goes way too hard for the physical and emotional abuse angle for him to be in a place where he can trust honest feedback on that just yet.

“Then by all means,” Komaeda says, looking utterly unbothered either way.

Reluctant as he is to take his hands off Komaeda, he crawls over to his nightstand, almost getting himself tangled in his sheets in the ensuing scramble. He bangs the top drawer open, rummaging through for the mostly-full bottle of lube he’d swiped from Rocketpunch’s dusty shelves shortly after he’d woken up, when he’d entertained delusions of establishing some kind of normalcy in his new life. Hinata’s tried his best, but jerking off has been useless to that end.

He’s irritated at the blush crawling across his face as he returns to Komaeda with the slim bottle clutched in his hands. Komaeda blinks at the bottle. “You haven’t used it much,” he points out.

Hinata almost lets out a strangled noise as he sets it down on the bed, because he guesses they’re talking about this now. “Um,” he says, “I guess not?” He breathes out a laugh, almost breathes some helpless lie like he hasn’t had the time or the energy, but then he realises that the nervous part of him wants to talk shit, stall for time, and bites down on it.

Komaeda tilts his head, curiosity bright in his eyes. “It’s interesting.”

“What?” Hinata asks, “What’s interesting?”

Komaeda shakes his head. “It’s not important,” he says, “I just go through a lot.”

“Oh,” Hinata says, pretty sure he’s breaking into a sweat, and hadn’t Komaeda just said he didn’t need it?

Komaeda smiles. “But I suppose everyone has different methods, don’t they?”

Hinata’s kind of dumbstruck about how relaxed Komaeda is about all of this, when he feels like he’s about to burst into flames. He knows if he were in Komaeda’s position, he definitely wouldn’t be so casual about basically admitting to fingering himself on a regular basis, scarred thighs open for someone else. Komaeda’s self-loathing and vocal conviction in his own ugliness don’t seem to be an impediment to him laying himself out on the bed like he wants Hinata to eat him. Hinata actually considers the idea for a moment, because he feels like in Komaeda’s fucked up conception of appropriate human interaction, getting on your knees for someone is probably a nice thing to do. It’s just he doesn’t trust himself not to fuck it up and bite Komaeda.

Maybe he doesn’t have to, though. “...I can, um,” he says, voice trembling because his brain is jamming on him again, “Do that for you. If you want.” He’d kind of been banking on embarrassing himself with a quick, dirty, nervous, probably appalling handjob, but if Komaeda wants otherwise-

Komaeda raises his eyebrows. Hinata watches him tongue the inside of his cheek. “...It’s not necessary.”

“I mean,” Hinata says, “Technically none of this is necessary.” He swallows, has to avert his eyes for a second because he doesn’t think he can maintain eye contact with Komaeda as he says it. “...I want to do it for you. If you think you’d, you know. Like it.”

The pause is maybe two seconds, but still way too long and suffocating for how keyed up Hinata is right now. “The idea doesn’t repulse you?”

“Ah hah,” Hinata almost wheezes, grasping for a way to articulate himself. He’s not really into the idea of admitting he’s jerked it to the guy before him probably more times than is probably appropriate, considering the history of their relationship, “Nn. No.”

“You want to do it,” Komaeda repeats, slowly, like he’s considering every sound. His voice rises a little on the last word. Hinata doesn’t think it’s meant to be a question, but it sure sounds like one.

“...Do you not want me to?” He’d been foolish enough to hope they’d reached some kind of understanding. “Has no one ever… you know… looked after you like this?” It seems impossible, because Komaeda is clearly experienced in this sort of thing, and yet...

Komaeda’s quiet for a second. Hinata watches him think, watches his eyes turn cloudy. “‘Looked after’,” Komaeda repeats. He looks like the words are uncomfortable in his mouth, like they’re transplanted there from a foreign language. “I think… maybe? A long time ago.”

“Ah?” He doesn’t quite get it, but it feels precarious, asking too many questions, any questions at all, about this. Hinata’s not even really sure if he wants to know. Better to let Komaeda volunteer his own information.

Komaeda turns his head, raises the robotic hand. “But it was different.” The cloudiness in his eyes recedes a little. “You’re different.”

“In a good way, I hope.”

“More than I deserve,” Komaeda says. There’s something flat about it.

Hinata kisses him, because he knows he can’t chase that sentiment away with words. “You’ll have to tell me how you like it,” he says, a weak attempt to distract Komaeda from wherever his head is right now.

Komaeda’s tone instantly brightens, which Hinata figures is a win. “Anything you do to me will be a miraculous gift, Hinata-kun.”

He sounds sincere, but Hinata does not like the standards that are being hinted at here. “I mean,” he says, “I’m happy you’re as into this as I am, but-”

I want to make it good, he’d been about to say, but then Komaeda’s leading him back into another kiss, and Hinata suspects he’s trying to distract the both of them. He breathes out a sigh through his nose when Komaeda licks at his lower lip, and he gives in, parting his lips and letting their tongues slick together. He pets his fingers through Komaeda’s hair for a second, before he moves down, trailing his fingertips down the sides of Komaeda’s slender throat before coming to rest on the shells of his shoulders. Komaeda slinks further up against him, and it takes Hinata second to register it as the encouraging gesture it’s probably supposed to be.

It's quiet in the room, except for the sounds of their breathing. 

Hinata slips his slightly shaking hands down as Komaeda nips him, soft at first, then harder when Hinata’s touch ghosts over his nipples. Like he wasn’t already shaking enough, he thinks, setting his fingers around Komaeda’s ribcage so he can skim the pad of his thumb over one of Komaeda’s nipples experimentally. He feels Komaeda sigh against his lips, so he repeats the motion, working himself up to rubbing against it in slow, deliberate circles. It makes Komaeda get bite-happy, and Hinata likes the feel of Komaeda’s teeth, enough to pay the same kind attention to Komaeda’s other nipple. Komaeda whines when Hinata tweaks it, and Hinata almost laughs, even as Komaeda bites him hard enough to pinch, arching up off the bed so hard he might’ve knocked Hinata off his lap if there were more to him.

Part of Hinata laments his own lack of patience, even as he skims his touch down across the flat of Komaeda’s stomach, but he figures he’ll probably get a chance to tease those kinds of noises out of him another time, to familiarise himself with them like he really wants to. He lingers for a moment, touch slowing to a halt over where his brain tells him a puncture wound should be, where instead there’s just unmarred skin framed by sharp ridges of bone. He feels more than hears Komaeda take in a deep breath, his stomach trembling against Hinata’s palm. The gravity almost swallows him whole - but cold fingers settle over Hinata’s own, the feeling stark and startling enough to jerk him out of the darkest corners of his mind. Hinata kisses Komaeda harder, unsure if it’s meant to be an apology, comfort, seeking refuge, something in between. He knows this isn’t the time to dwell on ghosts, so he pushes them away, hand shaking a little as he trails it down to pause where Komaeda’s underwear and skin meet.

He licks into Komaeda’s mouth. “Can I-?”

Please,” Komaeda moans. Fuck, Hinata thinks.

He drags the waistband of Komaeda’s underwear down with hesitant fingers, heart jamming when Komaeda’s mouth falters against his, breath ghosting across his damp lips as it mingles with his own. His wrist feels heavy as he moves it, dragging his palm across the head of Komaeda’s cock and finding it wet, before he finally curls his fingers around the shaft. Komaeda moans out a few shivering syllables that might be Hinata’s name, losing most of it between how hard his voice is trembling and the touch of their lips. Hinata realises his mouth’s gone bone dry just at touching Komaeda’s cock, how fucking good it feels to finally get there, and he sucks on his tongue before he sinks down to kiss him open-mouthed again.

Adjusting to doing it to someone else is weird, he thinks as he gives Komaeda a few slow, purposeful strokes. Komaeda whimpers again, and Hinata feels fingers, cold and sharp against his shoulder blade, bruising at his waist. Quiet, Hinata thinks -  it's so quiet in the room, and he hadn't even realised how much background noise had been screaming in his head for days on end until it stopped. Hinata murmurs vague, comforting nonsense back at him, speeding up just a little, chasing some kind of rhythm. Komaeda arches up against him, fingers raking across Hinata’s skin and making him hiss.

Komaeda lets out a little gasp like he’s surfacing from some kind of watery depth. “Sorry-”

Hinata hums back at him, pausing to suck gently at Komaeda’s lower lip. “It’s good,” he says, “Don’t worry.” There’s something grounding about the sting.

It’s hard to keep rhythm between his wrist and Komaeda’s mouth, so he settles back on his thighs, far back enough to actually see what he’s doing, close enough to feel the heat curling off Komaeda. He wishes he had the presence of mind to be more self-conscious about staring, but that instinct seems to have left him. Hinata thinks the sight of Komaeda and his long limbs arching off the bed into Hinata’s touch, all but naked save for where his underwear is barely still on him probably short circuited the better part of his brain.

He slows down, drinking in the little whispery sound of longing it draws from Komaeda. “Do you still…” Hinata clears his throat, because that isn’t quite what he’d meant to say, “I want to…”

“Mm.” Komaeda shivers when Hinata tightens his grip on him, and Hinata can’t help but watch in total fascination at the way the squeeze wrings out a tiny, glossy bead of stickiness from Komaeda’s slit when he drags up again. “Please , Hinata-kun,” he breathes, eyelashes fluttering when Hinata drags his thumb through it, transfixed by the slip as he smears it across Komaeda’s skin.

Komaeda's way too worked up for someone who's barely been touched. Hinata can't help but wonder what it'll be like when he pushes Komaeda even further.

“Well. Since you asked so nicely.” He’d meant it to be a joke, trying to lighten the mood, only his voice is too rough when it leaves his mouth, so it just winds up sounding dirty. Hinata’s glad he’s pretty sure he’s already flushed all the way down his throat.

He licks his lips, tugs at Komaeda’s now functionally useless underwear with his free hand as a prompt. The sight of Komaeda arching all the way up off the bed for him is almost enough to render him completely useless, but desperation is bubbling in his veins, enough for him to push through and help Komaeda writhe all the way out of his underwear. Hinata’s not even sure where they end up. It’s hard to care when he sees Komaeda in his sheets, pale hair and too-thin skin looking anemic against bluish veins and the flush splashed across him like a map of where his blood is the warmest.

Hinata dreads the thought of looking away, so he doesn’t, reaching out with a blind hand to search for the lube by touch. He won’t look away, he thinks - not for anything.

“Are you-?”

“If you say ‘disgusted’,” Hinata breaks in, words coming out in a low, rapid rush, “I swear, Komaeda.”

He doesn’t even know exactly what he’s swearing himself to, but Komaeda seems to absorb his sentiment all the same, understanding enough not to push it. Hinata swallows the little swell of triumph when his fingers catch at the smooth plastic lube bottle. He gets as far as squeezing out what feels like too much, probably is too much, rubbing it between his palms to take the edge of the cold off, before it hits him that this is it - he has nowhere left to go, except-

Komaeda’s looking at him like the sight of Hinata warming up lube between his hands is the single most captivating thing in the world. Hinata’s certain that can't be the case, but the dark intensity of Komaeda’s eyes staring at his shiny fingers makes him stop in his tracks. It's nothing compared to the way his chest tightens when Komaeda meets his gaze. Hinata thinks he can see into Komaeda’s eyes like he's looking into the bottom of a glass, and it's so open and vulnerable that Hinata feels an insane urge to ask Komaeda why he'd ever let someone like Hinata see him like this.

“It’s alright, Hinata-kun,” Komaeda says, and Hinata has to wonder how transparent he must look right now.

Hinata bites his lip and nods once, inching over to settle between Komaeda’s thighs more on instinct than conscious thought, because he knows if he thinks too deeply about it he’ll just wind up paralysing himself. Komaeda seems content to let himself be moved around, and Hinata doesn't know if he should be apologetic for leaving glossy, slightly tacky fingerprints on him when he touches him, raising one of Komaeda’s thighs so he can spread him open more.

Hinata thinks he'd been going to say something. It's just it's hard to remember what words even are when he has Komaeda underneath him like this, when Komaeda is crazy enough to trust him like this. He trails his touch down the back of Komaeda’s thigh, only using his nails a little as he leaves behind sticky smears, holds his breath while he keeps moving downwards, smoothing his other hand across Komaeda’s lower abdomen-

Komaeda arches his back up off the sheets in response, rolling his head to the side as he lets out a thin, trembling sigh. Hinata watches his chest rise and fall with a dry mouth. It takes a second for him to consider the possibility that Komaeda is probably attempting to communicate something to him, but screw it, he thinks, it’s not even his fault - his dick is too hard to be up on nonverbal cues right now.

“...In?” It comes out deeper, throatier than he’d expected, because the just the idea of it is enough to make him dizzy.

Please ,” Komaeda whispers, and when his eyes flutter open they’re all dark and blown out, and Hinata has to sink his teeth into his lip so hard he almost draws blood, to stop himself from coming right then and there. He wonders what Komaeda would do, if he came in his boxers - tries to picture Komaeda’s expression at him making a mess of himself, flooding himself with humiliation, and for fuck’s sake Hajime get with the program you’re supposed to be trying not to come all over yourself-

Hinata’s already circling around the slight dip of tightness with a fingertip when he breathes out a rough, “You sure?”

Komaeda’s answering exhale is caught somewhere between impatience and desperation. Hinata almost stalls when clawing fingers sink down to scrabble at his wrist, tugging it forward, but a tiny, wavering sound escapes Komaeda’s throat when Hinata’s fingertip nudges up against him. That’s encouragement enough for Hinata, breath snagging in his throat as he sinks his finger inside, trying to take it slow and failing miserably when he realises how hot it is, inside.

It’s not like he’s completely new to the idea - he has foggy memories of coming a sticky mess all over his hand to incognito browser tabs on his phone switched to silent, blanketed by the darkness of after hours in the reserve student dorms. No amount of porn or dirty fantasies or messy fumbling with himself could’ve prepared him for the way Komaeda sighs as Hinata sinks all the way in, high and trembling from his sticky lips, head tilted back and wide eyes fixed on the ceiling like he’s seeing something incomprehensible. Hinata knows relief when he sees it, spread out before him, glossy eyes, pink blush creeping down a pale throat and chest.

It almost kills him. He survives, but only barely, head swimming a little, halfway paralysed by uncertainty. Komaeda’s fingers bite at his wrist, sharp enough to get him moving again, figuring, if nothing else, he can mimic what he’s seen, and maybe he won’t completely suck. Surely Komaeda wouldn’t let him suck. Surely Komaeda’s invested in him not sucking. Right?

“I can take more,” Komaeda tells him after a moment, and Hinata’s too frantic to obey to really treat the idea with much caution. He settles back against against the mattress a little, knowing for a fact his eyes are wide as he claws in a steady, deep inhale, timing it with pushing back inside Komaeda with two fingers. “Ah,” Komaeda breathes, eyes going half - lidded.

“Is that okay?”

It looks like it takes considerable effort for Komaeda to open his eyes all the way. “How many?”

There’s something dirty enough about Komaeda asking that question to rattle Hinata a little. “Two?” he almost chokes out.

“Oh,” Komaeda says, breathlessly, “More, then. Please.” That almost makes Hinata die where he sits.

“Um.” Hinata feels dizzy, maybe on the verge of passing out. “Well,” he says, voice gravelly to his own ears. He clears his throat. It makes no difference. “Sure.”

He’d roll his eyes at himself, but it’s probably a bad time, given where his fingers are. He holds his breath this time, retracting his wrist a little before he lines up a third finger and pushes in.

Ah -"

Hinata stops dead when Komaeda winces in obvious pain. “You told me you didn’t need lube,” His voice is heavy with exasperation as he tries and probably fails to regard Komaeda’s flushed, teary face with sternness .

Komaeda’s lashes flicker. “I wasn’t lying.”

“You just-”

“It feels good.” Hinata wonders if Komaeda is actually as exasperated as he sounds, or if it’s just the fact that Hinata has three fingers inside of him that’s making him sound so urgent.

“...But it hurts?”

“Hurts enough,” Komaeda breathes.

Hinata pauses. He only kind of gets it. “Right,” he says.

Komaeda tips his head back against the pillow. “Before,” he says, “When you asked me to make you feel it.”

Hinata swallows. “...Oh.”

“Do you understand now?” It comes out sweet for how breathless Komaeda is, but the impact’s kind of lessened by the way he sinks his fingers into the sheets and grinds back against Hinata’s fingers.

Hinata’s mouth goes dry again. “I think I’ve got it, yeah.” He swallows. “But. Tell me if I do get too rough.”

“That would be extremely difficult, Hinata-kun,” Komaeda assures him.

Hinata isn’t sure he’s proud of how much he likes the thought of the precedent that’s being set here.

He goes slow at first, hesitation racking through him, making his hand shake a little, eyes trained on Komaeda’s face for any slight hint that he’s hurting him. It doesn’t get easier, not exactly, because Hinata’s still struggling to even breathe and Komaeda is still tight and impossibly hot around his fingers, but he settles into something that resembles some kind of rhythm, inching deeper with each pass. Then Komaeda shivers, so hard Hinata can see it, huffing out a breath as his eyes flutter closed and he tips his head back.

Hinata tries to ask, but it gets stuck in his throat. He swallows, licks his lips. “There?”

“Mmmmm -!” It’d probably be mean of Hinata to pretend like he was going to wait for a verbal answer - he rubs up against the same spot again, and Komaeda’s shaky moan of affirmation rises in pitch, turning desperate and loud enough that Hinata’s really glad he hadn’t gotten around to opening his windows in the morning.

“Yeah,” Hinata says under his breath, encouraging, towards himself or Komaeda or maybe both. That’s at least something to focus on, but it kind of proves difficult, because it’s impossible to not be distracted by the sight of Komaeda, eyes-half lidded, twitching with little shivers every time Hinata hits him where he needs it.

It takes Hinata a minute to figure out what he’s doing, shifting between hard and soft touch, gaze hyperfocused on Komaeda’s face (like it could be anywhere else right now). His eyes sting a little because he isn't blinking enough and he knows it, because even a fraction of a second with his eyes closed means he doesn’t get to see.

He plays trial and error dry-mouthed until he realises that Komaeda gives him the loudest noises when he's merciless about it. He locks his wrist into place with his palm pressed up completely still between Komaeda’s legs, letting his fingers do the work with a deliberate rhythm that would be frantic if it weren't so steady. Komaeda rewards him with teary eyes and desperate little ‘oh!’ noises every time the pressure is too much for him. He’s getting louder, Hinata thinks, wondering if he should maybe press his free hand against Komaeda’s mouth to muffle his sounds. Then Komaeda’s voice cracks so suddenly it feels almost violent in Hinata’s ears, dissolving into a long, shivery gasp that sounds like it hurts, almost. Hinata’s on the verge of asking Komaeda if he’s faking, only he figures that would be rude, and he's actually pretty sure Komaeda’s not faking.

“Can you get off like this?” He’s almost growling, he realises. He’d probably be ashamed of himself if he had the necessary brain capacity. “Without me touching your cock?” Hinata has no idea what that might feel like, never quite been able to bring himself off like that, but it’s not like he’d be sore about seeing Komaeda do it.

“Uh-huh!” Komaeda sobs, actually sobs, hitching and high up in his throat, and Hinata’s pretty sure he’s seconds away from losing it himself. Komaeda must sense blood in the air, because he chooses that moment to reach out, hooking his fingers in the elastic of Hinata’s underwear. The cool air licking at his cock rips a low hiss out of him, and he realises he’s so much more fucked up than he’d thought, a sticky string of precome there between the head and the fabric of his underwear before it snaps and disappears-

Komaeda reaches up and wraps his fingers around Hinata’s sticky cock, and Hinata flinches back and withdraws his fingers with a short, sharp yelp. Panic flashes across Komaeda’s face for a split second, and his hand shakes in the air between them.

“I-I shouldn’t have-!”

No,” Hinata gasps, because if he screws this up now he’s done, he’s out, he’s leaving the fucking island- No no no, it’s fine, it’s just, I’m really fucked, and I-”

Komaeda, turned out as he obviously is, still manages to look bewildered. Hinata lets out a frustrated noise at his own stupid mouth, and stupid brain, and general inescapable stupidity, laying the back of the hand that is not currently thinking about getting wrist-deep in Komaeda across his forehead.

“I’m close,” he says, face burning as he carefully threads together words in a way he hopes is even vaguely coherent, “And if you touch me, I’ll-”

“But don’t you-?”

“No,” Hinata says, “Yes, I want you to, just- you first.” It’s not as if he’s planning on being far behind Komaeda, anyway - not in the state he’s in.

Komaeda continues looking bewildered.

“Watching you…” Hinata doesn’t have a word for it - not in his current headspace, saturated in warm static.

He lets it hang in the air between them. Komaeda’s eyes are glossy, contemplative, as he looks up at Hinata.

“Then watch, Hinata-kun,” he says after a moment, voice breathy, settling back on his elbows and tilting his chin down, blinking up at him through pale lashes. It’s a really dirty move, in Hinata’s opinion, but Hinata’s kind of realising Komaeda’s got more of those up his sleeve than he’d initially thought.

Something twists inside of him. “Fine,” he says, softly, settling between Komaeda’s thighs again. Komaeda lets out a little surprised noise when Hinata grabs him by the hips, just short of dragging him up the mattress so he’s half laying in Hinata’s lap. It knocks the smugness off Komaeda’s face, and Hinata holds his gaze with a little flicker of triumph. He doesn’t even bother to tease it out when he shoves his fingers back inside of Komaeda. Hinata can’t quite find it in himself to dredge up any shame as he watches Komaeda bite his lip around a moan.

Hinata doesn’t like that. He reaches out with his free hand, brushes his thumb against Komaeda’s lips. “Trying to be modest?”

“I’m so,” Komaeda flicks his tongue against the pad of Hinata’s finger, “Indecent -”

No fucking kidding, Hinata almost says. “Yeah?” He drags his thumb down, forcing Komaeda to keep his lips parted. He flicks his fingers inside of Komaeda, sudden and deliberate enough to almost make himself wonder if it’s too much, out of nowhere like that. Komaeda lets out a hoarse, wordless cry, eyes widening as his hips snap into Hinata’s touch. Hinata pins his hips to the bed with his free hand because he's decided he's over the thrashing, staring down at Komaeda as he rubs that spot again. He retreats, abrupt and probably cruel, to deny Komaeda the opportunity to really settle into it. The noise Komaeda lets out sounds almost wounded.

“Speaking of indecent. I thought about this.” It comes out soft and low in Hinata’s throat, without him really meaning it to. Then realisation clicks in his head, and he’s almost annoyed with himself, but Komaeda’s already owned up to using Hinata as jerk-off material, so the whole coy deception thing really feels pointless. “When I left you the other morning. I came back here, and I thought about doing this to you-”

Oh -” Komaeda gasps, fingers clawing at the sheets.

Hinata twists his wrist without even really thinking about it, sinking deeper before he retreats and leaves Komaeda with nothing, noting with idle fascinating the way it makes Komaeda’s thighs tremble on either side of his. “I thought about,” he continues, “Going down on you- shhhh, here, you're okay-” He pushes back inside him, because those are fresh tears in Komaeda’s eyes and it's pathetic and good in a way Hinata hadn't ever really considered might be possible until now. Then Komaeda writhes back against him, and Hinata thinks better of it.

“Stop moving,” he tells Komaeda, fingers stopping just short of where he knows will shake Komaeda up the most. The whine that bubbles up from Komaeda’s throat sounds frustrated, which is a novelty to Hinata. He keeps Komaeda hanging for a while, abandoning grinding his fingertips up against where Komaeda needs it in favour of fucking him hard, barely a pause between slipping in and out, with his fingers.

Hinata-kun,” Komaeda begs, “Please-”

“You told me to watch,” Hinata reminds him. He doesn't even bother to look up at Komaeda’s face just yet, too absorbed in watching the rhythmic pulse of his slick fingers as he abuses Komaeda with them. He’s fascinated by the wet, almost click-like noises he gets on every stroke, the skin stretched around the base of his fingers flushed and swollen to the point it borders on raw. “Are you in a rush? Do you want something from me, Komaeda?”

He listens to Komaeda wheeze out a shaky breath. He takes his time in raising his head, finds Komaeda with tear tracks on his cheeks and lips that look bruised from being bitten.

Hinata wonders if Komaeda would enjoy being told he's pathetic. He’d mean it affectionately.

He pretends to sink deeper by accident, noting with approval that this time Komaeda keeps himself still when he whimpers. He strokes the fingertips of his other hand down from Komaeda’s sternum to the base of his cock, watching Komaeda shiver harder the lower his touch gets. “Hm?” He doesn’t really do much with Komaeda’s cock, just studies it, the way it’s fully hard now, swollen and flushed as it leaks against the flat of his stomach like it’s begging for something, anything . Hinata bites the inside of his cheek as he skims a featherlight touch up the vein on the underside, swiping his fingers through the warm stickiness pooling a little on Komaeda’s skin. Komaeda isn’t big, which isn’t a bad thing - Hinata still thinks about what it would be like, what Komaeda would do, if he lowered his head to lap up the stickiness.

Yes,” Komaeda whines, jerking Hinata from his idle imaginings. He looks up again to see Komaeda’s face flushed, eyes glazed with something that looks like agony. Hinata suddenly can’t take his eyes off his face.

“You’re such a mess,” Hinata sighs, even as he rubs soothing circles against Komaeda’s hipbone, a little giddy at the knowledge it’s his fault Komaeda’s in such a state. Komaeda lets out a soft moan at the insult, and that’s almost too good, enough to make Hinata twitch in his boxers. He’s never been so consumed by thinking with his dick before, has a feeling he’s going to be horrified by all of this later when his blood has a chance to settle down. It’s irrelevant to him now, with Komaeda turning his head to the side and letting out a broken little noise when Hinata goes deep enough again. “But I want the same thing, so I guess you’re pretty lucky.”

Komaeda’s lashes look heavy, weighed down with the dew of tears and what he thinks must be the urge to squeeze them shut with the way Hinata’s back to unravelling him from the inside. He can tell it’s a struggle for Komaeda to keep himself from thrashing, can feel his hips trembling when he rubs over bone and soft skin with gentle, encouraging fingers. Komaeda’s gone almost quiet, comparatively, little hitching sounds caught between a soft moan and deep, trembling panting in time with the rhythm Hinata’s forcing on him.

Hinata isn’t even annoyed at the way his voice spikes on a loud ‘oh!’ all of a sudden, hips snapping up off the bed so hard it takes Hinata a second to pin him back down. It doesn’t stop, the litany of ‘oh oh oh’ s spilling from Komaeda’s lips getting longer, more frantic with each breath. Hinata’s not even certain he’s breathing anymore, jaw slack as he watches Komaeda lose it, but he knows for a fact his cock is leaking against the front of his boxers, can feel the dampness where it’s pressed up against Komaeda’s thigh.

“Close?” It’s completely redundant. It’s just, Hinata can’t help teasing Komaeda.

Hi-” It’s either the beginning of Hinata’s name or a desperate, hiccuping noise. Either way, it makes Hinata bite his lip, lock his wrist tighter and finger Komaeda harder, consumed by nothing other than the urge to get Komaeda there. Komaeda’s so flushed now it looks like his skin’s been rubbed raw, thighs trembling uncontrollably either side of Hinata.

Komaeda lets out a high pitched noise that might be too loud, loud enough to carry even through the closed windows, but it’s there and gone in an instant when his voice cracks again. Hinata really does stop breathing when Komaeda spasms with a silent scream, eyes squeezing shut as he comes, hard, judging from how violently he’s trembling, the way he spills all the way up his own torso in messy pulses.

Hinata moves without thinking, shoving Komaeda’s hips back against the mattress with a bruising hand while he keeps the friction inside of Komaeda constant, punishing, knowing Komaeda has more to give him if he plays with him like this. Komaeda arches his back up off the bed, eyes wide when Hinata doesn’t back off. He claws at the sheets first, panting as he shudders against Hinata’s merciless touch, then at Hinata’s arm, raking angry red streaks against his skin. Hinata knows, somehow, it’s not an imperative to stop, that it’s just Komaeda going to pieces, composure self destructing in a flurry of sharp nails and shattered little noises. Komaeda’s not strong enough to overpower him no matter how desperate he gets, so Hinata lets him scratch, panting a little himself against the strangely gratifying sting.

Hinata- kun !” Komaeda hiccups, finally, voice raw and broken like he’s at the tail end of a coughing fit, cheeks tearstained and lips slick with his own saliva. There’s an urge, for a second, to keep wringing it out of Komaeda, force him past the threshold of over-stimulation, find out exactly how hard he can push him. The idea is so intriguing Hinata almost keeps holding him down, keeps turning him out.

Komaeda collapses when Hinata withdraws his fingers, spine untensing as he slumps back into the mattress like he wishes it could swallow him whole. His panting is shaky, as turns on his side to press his face against the sheets - Hinata thinks he might be sobbing a little.

“That looked fun.” Hinata’s utterly sincere, sincerely awed by the dripping mess in front of him. His forearm still burns with Komaeda’s scratches.

Komaeda opens his eyes a little, breath still coming shallow. He lets out a shaky sound that might be an affirmative, but the look in his eyes is still scrambled and incoherent, and Hinata suspects there’s a good chance Komaeda hadn’t even heard him. He leans over Komaeda, pushing his slightly damp bangs back from his forehead. Komaeda closes his eyes again and tilts his head into the touch, and Hinata can't help smiling to himself, busying himself with messing gently with Komaeda’s hair until it’s substantially more of a wreck than when he first started. Komaeda seems to appreciate the affection, tapped out as he is, so Hinata figures he’ll probably live. He takes this moment while Komaeda’s drifting to wipe his hand off on the sheets with a grimace, because he figures they’re a lost cause by this point anyway.

It takes Komaeda maybe a minute to open his eyes again, grey and dull and dazed. The hard flush is receding to a pleasant pink.

“...Was that you not knowing what you were doing?” he croaks out. It looks like it takes significant effort to maintain such a level of coherency.

“I don’t know,” Hinata says, because fair, that did come off a whole lot better than he was expecting, “I just... kind of winged it?”

“You winged it.” Komaeda might look astonished if he wasn’t so obviously wiped out.

Hinata pauses. “Was it good?”

Komaeda just stares at him. Hinata feels thoroughly admonished.

He drums his fingers against his thigh. “I was really into it?” he attempts. He does not point out the fact that he’s still achingly hard, because he figures that probably speaks for itself.

Komaeda lowers his gaze to regard Hinata’s hands. He does this for a long moment.

“Something the matter?” Hinata finally asks.

His eyes widen a little, totally earnest. “Perhaps you have a talent, Hinata-kun.”

Hinata groans. “Come on, don’t start with that.”

“Why not?”

“Because you’re gonna kill the mood.” He shifts his hips a little, hoping to remind Komaeda of the fact that there is, in fact, still a mood left to be killed.

Komaeda lowers his gaze further still. His eyes widen again. Hinata watches him tongue the inside of his cheek, before he licks his lips.

Hinata feels like he might’ve won.

“What do you-?”

“Just touch me.” He knows he sounds strangled and beyond desperate, and he doesn’t even care anymore.

He’s expecting Komaeda to protest, at least long enough to clean himself up, because again, he figures Komaeda’s the kind of person who worries about that sort of thing. He’s kind of surprised when Komaeda just nods and pulls himself upright. He lets Komaeda help him out of his underwear, and he’d thought he’d cleared the nerves, but there are some still left to flicker like dull lights as Komaeda stares at his naked body with such bright eyes and intensity Hinata could almost kid himself into thinking Komaeda’s vibrating, just slightly.

His stomach flutters when Komaeda reaches out to set his mismatched hands on him, and his skin feels almost normal next to the cold touch of the prosthetic. Hinata’s still worked up enough that the cold against his heated skin makes him wince a little - though not, he realises, in a way that’s entirely bad. It’s just he’s so strung out he’s beyond foreplay, a memo which Komaeda doesn’t seem to be getting, judging from the way he’s apparently intent on feeling Hinata up without even the slightest hint of visible shame. A shiver goes rocketing down his spine when a cold finger traces over his nipple, and while he hisses, thinking that that’s maybe something they can investigate later, need and impatience twist in his belly.

“Enjoying yourself?” Komaeda coos. He has the nerve to smirk.

“Enjoying yourself ?” Komaeda is unbelievable. A demon. Shade. Whatever.

“I thought you wanted me to touch you, Hinata-kun.” He sounds breathless, but he’s speaking with that pleasant, lilting pitch that means he’s teasing Hinata.

“Uh-huh,” Hinata affirms, grabbing Komaeda’s hand and guiding it downwards, “So do it.” Komaeda breathes out this little laugh, which just makes Hinata laugh.

Komaeda pauses. Hinata idly considers screaming. “Are you sure you want this hand?”

Hinata blinks. He doesn’t understand the question. “Yes?”

Komaeda looks concerned. “But it’s inferior.”

“Inferior?” Hinata’s so out of it he doesn’t quite process what Komaeda’s getting at at first. “Oh. No.”

Komaeda looks puzzled. “No?”

“No.” He tightens his hold on Komaeda’s wrist, taking his chin with his other hand and tilting it down so he can really get up in his face. “There is nothing inferior about you.”

Komaeda opens his mouth, obviously to protest. Hinata’s not hearing it. Not now.

“I want you, ” he says, squeezing his fingers around Komaeda’s wrist for emphasis, “Your hand. Your body. You.”

It’s the kind of candid speech he’d usually never even consider using on Komaeda, because he knows that Komaeda, usually, isn’t even capable of hearing things like that, let alone of accepting them. He’s just so desperate for it he can’t be bothered dancing around it anymore, doesn’t want Komaeda to have an out for this one.

Komaeda looks stunned , for a moment. Then he turns bright pink, and a frantic little moan escapes him, similar to the noise he’d made when he and Hinata had reached an agreement about the garden thing. It’s so bizarre and awkward and endearing, somehow, that it startles a laugh out of Hinata, right up until Komaeda slinks forward to kiss him, something forceful and spirited about it.

Hinata-kun-” Komaeda sounds breathless, exhilarated, maybe, like he’s giggling.

Oh ,” Hinata groans, lashes shuttering, gut lurching when Komaeda finally touches his cock, “Fuck-”

Delirious and fucked up on Komaeda as he is, he almost shoves him back against the sheets, almost grabs him by his skinny hips and pushes inside of him. The urge to get his cock properly wet is almost breaking his mind, but whatever sliver of him is still clinging to grace keeps him still. He’s wound so tightly he knows if he does it he’ll snap the second he’s inside Komaeda, and he thinks that’s probably the kind of thing you’re meant to discuss beforehand-

“If you want my body,” Komaeda rasps, not missing a beat as he keeps stroking Hinata, “You can put it in me, Hinata-kun.” Hinata’s more transparent than he’d like to be, obviously.

Fuck, ” Hinata says around a gasp, and he almost just does it, fuck his uncertainty, fuck the consequences, he’s tired of consequences, tired of worrying all the time-

“I can’t,” he breathes, “I can’t , not now- ” He doesn't want it to be some quick thing that's over and done in a second. Still, he knows his control over himself is at breaking point, he knows it, knows if Komaeda decided he wanted to push him on his back and sink down onto his cock he’d be powerless to stop it. There’s some part of Hinata that likes that thought, wants Komaeda to do it, wants Komaeda to make him fuck him.

Komaeda, instead, slows the movement of his wrist down, until it comes to a total stop, forcing a longing whine out of Hinata. He gives Hinata a long, thoughtful look, teeth catching at his lower lip, eyes practically glowing. He groans a little at the loss of touch when Komaeda lets go of him, feeling around for the lube bottle as he rises up on his knees.

Hinata sucks in a breath when Komaeda pops the lid open with a loud crack, leaning forward to drizzle the clear substance on Hinata’s straining cock. It’s cold enough to make him hiss through his teeth - Komaeda makes a little apologetic murmur as he takes Hinata in hand again, pumping his cock a few times to get him wet.

“A-are you.” Stammering. Nice, Hajime. “Are… are we -?” They are, Hinata thinks, thoughts turning wild-

Komaeda just shakes his head. Hinata likes that he apparently knows him well enough to decipher his incoherent stammering. He watches, dazed, a little dumb-founded, as Komaeda leans back on a hand, squirting lube on his inner thighs. Hinata's jaw drops a little at the sight, watching it drip down Komaeda’s thighs, gloss on pale skin, slow and viscous like it’s teasing Hinata on purpose.

He’s fucked.

“What are you doing?” It comes out husky. He’s beyond caring.

Komaeda once again says nothing - just shifts forward, rustling against the sheets. He presses his palm against Hinata’s chest, and Hinata’s so wired and confused that he just rolls with it, letting himself be pushed to lie back against the mattress. Komaeda follows him down, pressing his chest against Hinata’s and tucking his face against the crook of Hinata’s neck. Hinata blinks as he lets Komaeda curl up against him, blinks again as he registers the feeling of stickiness pressing up against him, transferring onto his skin.

Oh ,” Komaeda says, with a little start, and Hinata can tell he’d forgotten about it, “I’m-”

“You’re fine,” Hinata hushes him, because it’s not like they both aren’t filthy right now. He thinks Komaeda might still be on the verge of protesting, so he reaches out, looping his arms around Komaeda’s lithe waist and drawing him in closer, shivering a little at the feel of come smearing between them.

This is so much messier than Hinata thought it would be. He didn't plan on being so okay with it. Into it, even.

“Mm.” Komaeda sounds distracted. Hinata lets a hand slip down to rest against his lower back, paying close attention as Komaeda arches his hips up, leaving enough space to trail his fingers down Hinata’s pelvic bone before they finally come to curl around his cock in a gentle grip. It’s only been about a minute, but Hinata is already touch-starved enough to shiver at the feeling. He’s confused, for a second, when Komaeda shifts, Hinata’s cock rubbing up between thighs slippery and warm around him. Komaeda lowers his hips so they’re flush against Hinata’s, bracing his arms around Hinata’s shoulders and burying his face against Hinata’s neck again.

“What?” is the only thing Hinata can manage, even as his body decides it’s done taking orders from his rapidly decomposing brain, hips rocking up, burying his cock deeper against Komaeda’s body. His eyes scrunch closed at the answering squeeze. He waits for it to let up. It doesn’t.

“I don’t know if you’ve done it this way before, Hinata-kun, but it’ll be better if you…” Hinata thinks it’s sweet that Komaeda’s even bothering to pretend like Hinata has any idea what the fuck Komaeda is currently up to. Komaeda’s hand is slick with lube when he takes Hinata’s, setting it on a bony hip. “Ah. Move me.”

It takes a second, fried as Hinata’s brain is.

“Oh.” He swallows. “ Oh.”

Komaeda’s hair tickles at his neck, sending another shiver down Hinata’s spine. “I thought,” he says, voice a low murmur, “That… this is… even though I’m disgusting… and you should probably just push me off...”

It’s the least convincing thing Hinata’s ever heard out of Komaeda’s mouth.

“I.” It’s going nowhere - none of Hinata’s thoughts are at this point. He tightens his hands about Komaeda’s hips, pulls him closer, more out of curiosity than anything else. “Oh,” he breathes again, surprised at how much slip Komaeda’s thighs have around him.

He’s pretty sure his antenna stands all the way on end when Komaeda sucks lazily at his neck. “Bruises are only superficial, Hinata-kun,” is his helpful statement.

Hinata isn’t quite at that point yet, even after everything, but he doesn’t have much faith in his self control. He holds his breath as he digs bruising fingers into Komaeda’s hips, before he moves his hands up to grab at Komaeda’s ass. The groan spills out before he can do anything about it, and Komaeda just breathes against his neck. Hinata thinks he might be laughing. Hinata drags him down again, full body shudder tearing down his spine at the slippery friction of Komaeda’s thighs.

And Komaeda claimed to be the easy one. He huffs a laugh out against Komaeda’s bony shoulder. He’s about to leave Komaeda in the dust.

“...Are you laughing?” Komaeda asks, surprise making his voice waver.

“Yeah,” Hinata mumbles, scraping his teeth against Komaeda’s skin.

“Why?” Komaeda sounds concerned. It’s probably justified. Hinata feels halfway hysterical.

Hinata forces Komaeda’s hips to work again, parting his lips to breathe a moan against his shoulder. “This was a good idea.” He thinks his filter might have finally gone up in smoke - not that it really ever had a chance.

“Oh?” His voice hitches a little when Hinata bucks his hips up while he drags Komaeda’s down. That works, Hinata thinks. He’s glad for how easy it is to shove Komaeda around, how easy it is to sink into a slippery, delirious rhythm, burying himself so deep against Komaeda’s body it dizzies him.

“You feel,” he sinks his teeth into Komaeda’s shoulder, “So fucking good-”

Komaeda just hums back at him, shifting so he can press his lips to the juncture of Hinata’s neck and throat. Hinata lets out a sharp gasp when Komaeda sinks his teeth in. They’re both sticky with sweat, and Komaeda’s bones are sharp enough to dig into Hinata where they touch, but Hinata thinks they might bruise later, and the image makes him moan and yank at Komaeda, pulling him closer, tighter. There’s something that makes him feel giddy about being this close to Komaeda, feeling him exhale against the saliva-slick mess he’s leaving on Hinata’s throat, feeling his heart thud between his sharp rib cage, being able to touch him like this.

He hisses when Komaeda bites, hard, feels a flick of tongue before the pressure of suction, and that’s good, enough to make a spasm rack through him, make him squeeze Komaeda’s ass so viciously he’s sure he’s leaving angry red nail welts behind.

“Hinata-kun is rough,” Komaeda breathes, sounding giddy himself as speaks between sucks.

Komaeda ,” Hinata moans, because the pressure’s building, and he’s about to snap, lose himself all over Komaeda, he can feel it-

“You know, Hinata-kun.” He sounds so breathless he’s gasping a little, every time Hinata rocks his hips up to fuck his thighs deeper. “When you left me the other morning. I thought about you being rough like this while you fucked me.”

Hinata lets out a whine that barely even sounds like his own voice, fingers digging into Komaeda's skin as he snaps, gut twisting, hips wrenching up, grabbing at Komaeda so hard it pulls a little whimper of pain from him. Komaeda sinks his teeth in again as Hinata fucks his thighs with shallow, desperate thrusts, feels everything get wetter and slipperier between his legs, groaning at how fucking filthy it feels. His thoughts liquefy in his head, as he squeezes his eyes shut and pants with it, shuddering until it almost hurts.

Finally the heat drains out of him, leaving him bracketed by white noise in his head and Komaeda warm on top of him. He pants as he winds his arms around Komaeda, letting his eyes drift shut. He feels hands stroking through his hair, idle and soft.

After a moment: “Hinata-kun.”

“Yeah?” Hinata barely manages.

“Do you mind if I sit up?”

Hinata does, in fact, mind a great deal. “Go ahead,” he says anyway.

Hinata’s brain is already struggling to maintain a grip on anything like coherence. It grinds to a halt entirely when Komaeda sits up, thighs still either side of Hinata. Hinata probably wasn't ready to get a look at him just yet, flushed and sweaty with wild hair, scratches and finger welts scattered around his hips, come still smeared on his chest, dripping from between his thighs.

“Holy shit,” Hinata breathes.

Komaeda glances up. “What?”

“You’re…” His brain is firing on exactly no cylinders - words are failing him. His basic internal monologue is failing him. It’s a wonder he can even get his mouth to move.

Komaeda smirks, tilting his head. “Debauched?”

Hinata knows he should probably feel bad for getting off on seeing Komaeda like this. Yet it’s almost, almost enough to make him hard again, cock giving a longing little twitch despite being wrung out. He summons the strength to push himself up on his elbows, reaches out with a hand to drag his fingers through a streak of come glistening on Komaeda’s inner thigh. He hears Komaeda take a breath like he’s shocked, feels his thighs tense when Hinata slips his fingers between them and rubs it further into the skin. Hinata’s jaw slackens a little at how wet it feels between his legs, smearing sticky, glossy trails down Komaeda’s thigh. He trails his fingers up, exhaling as he rubs his fingers lightly against the softness deep between Komaeda’s thighs, coating them in wetness.

Maybe he’s not completely wrung out.

“Hinata-kun.” He sounds gentle, a little amused, as much as he’s shivering.

“Mmm?”

“As flattering as this is,” Komaeda says, “We should clean up before it gets really disgusting.”

He has a point, as much as Hinata bitterly, bitterly regrets it. “I guess.”

“Maybe we can do more of that later,” Komaeda says mildly.

The regret siphons away - just a little. “Maybe,” he agrees.

“Where are your towels?”

Hinata waves a hand. “Sheets are fine.” When Komaeda gives him an aghast look, he raises his eyebrows and just says, “Komaeda. Look around.”

Komaeda does. Hinata might be able to picture the carnage he’s seeing a little more clearly if his brain didn’t currently feel like someone went at it with sandpaper. “Ah,” he says, mildly.

Hinata snorts. He thinks he might be a little delirious.

Komaeda insists on cleaning him up. Hinata appreciates the gesture. When he’s managed to get them both to a state of only mild indecency, Komaeda settles back, staring at the messy sheet in his hand.

“I should strip the bed,” he says.

“Komaeda,” Hinata says, letting his eyes drift shut, “Please stop. ” Hinata isn’t moving. Not for anything .

“But the sheets-”

“Are already ruined.” His voice is croaky like he’s getting over a cold. “Don’t care.” Laundry is the furthest thing from his mind. He doesn’t even care if it’s gross. He doesn't care about anything right now.

He opens his eyes to find Komaeda hesitating, sheet clutched in an anxious hand.

Hinata softens his voice. “Come here?”

He watches Komaeda take in a breath, sharp ribcage expanding around it. Something like determination washes across his face, and he drops the sheet, crawling over the mess and letting Hinata pull him down to lie against his chest.

“You lying in anything?” He’s kind of slurring. He just barely has the mental coherence to be embarrassed at how quickly he’s drifting off.

He feels a tickle as Komaeda shakes his head. “No.”

“Good.” It seems like a miracle, given how badly they’ve trashed the bed, but Hinata’s glad for it. He throws an arm over Komaeda’s waist, drawing him closer, because he has a sudden impulse to wrap himself up in Komaeda, drown to death in skin on skin contact and the fuzzy warmth blanketing his brain.

It takes a little while for Komaeda to start to untense. Hinata can tell he’s not used to this kind of contact, and it’s not like Hinata is, either, but sadness still prickles through him. He strokes his fingers up and down the line of Komaeda’s waist, feeling him shudder like it's his own body.

“Tickles,” Komaeda murmurs. He sounds distant. Hinata’s relieved that he’s apparently unwound enough for the sleep fog to settle over him.

“Sorry.”

“It’s nice.”

“Okay,” Hinata says, and it is pleasant, feeling Komaeda shiver against him every now and then, puffing out sighs against his chest.

Hinata closes his eyes, revelling in touch and quiet, the rain still drumming down on the roof outside.

“It’s weird,” he mumbles into Komaeda’s hair after a moment.

“What is?”

“Feeling happy.”

He feels Komaeda tense up a little, drifts in the pause. Then, hesitant, maybe awed, Hinata’s not sure, on the verge of fading like he is: “Are you happy?”

Hinata presses a kiss into his hair. There’s so much volume he’s not even sure if Komaeda feels it. “Yeah.” Such a casual word - he tries to cram all the overflowing sincerity he can into it.

Cold fingers settle on his hip. Hinata cracks his eyes open.

“It does feel strange,” is the last thing Hinata’s aware of, a warm glow against his chest, and even if he barely has the energy for it, he smiles anyway.