If Kojiro were to think back to the days where he hasn’t met Kaoru yet, he would say that his life was pretty plain. A meal that doesn’t give off a taste that would make a tongue remember and yearn for more, but just enough to not be bad. He, himself, was boring, with no adhere qualities that would make a person swoon over him.
Not that he minded it, really. If someone asked him at that time, he would have preferred living the rest of his life simply.
No risks to take.
Everything starts like this.
Kojiro was on his way home after running errands for his mom at a convenience store. He walked lazily, dragging his feet one after another, noticing how his shadows looked with the light of the orange streetlights and the moon canceling each other out.
His body was tired. He stretched his arms, a sigh escaping his lips.
Maybe he should get something to help with things like this. The stores are unnecessarily too far for his liking. A bike then, perhaps?
As he was about to turn into a corner, the soft sound of wheels, little and distinct were caught by his ears. His eyes follow, blinking as it sought a swift motion passing at the crossroad in front of him.
And then he sees them.
His breath was stuck on his throat as he processed the sight.
Cherry blossom-colored hair flew with the wind as the person who owned it crouched down on a skateboard, briskly turning its body on the corner. The moon light over their face, its light being reflected on the piercings on their lips.
As it happens, both of their eyes meet, widening as it did.
‘Pretty.’ It was the first thing that came into Kojiro’s mind. He was stunned to find a person who looked so stunning in such a short time.
‘Oh, shoot, they fell,’ was his second thought. True to his words, the person suddenly fell onto the ground, their skateboard rolling away from their body.
The next thing he knew, he was rushing towards them to help. A decision that he will never regret, but would always contemplate about.
“Hey, are you okay? Still alive?” Kojiro called as he crouched down beside him. There were some visible cuts on his arms, probably caused by the fall.
They groaned as they looked at him, raising one of their eyebrows. “Do I look like I’m okay?”
“Just have to make sure that I didn’t see someone die,” Kojiro narrowed his eyes on them as he scanned the other with visible injuries, “Should I bring you to the hospital?”
“This is barely a scratch,” they rolled their eyes, running their fingers through their scalp. Kojiro was about to lend them a hand when the person sat up without any hesitation, and yet that little grimace on their face didn’t escape him.
Kojiro just watched in a safe distance, not wanting to cross their personal space. Disheveled pink hair rested softly on the person’s shoulders, a loose braid tucked behind his ear with a small piercing on it, then his clothes. He was wearing the same uniform as him.
A realization suddenly clicked inside his mind. “Wait, you’re that guy in my class. Sakurayashiki, is it?” Kojiro asked.
“And you’re Nanjo, I know. I recognized you and I got distracted and I fell,” Sakurayashiki reached for his board and frowned when they saw some broken parts under it. He muttered a couple of curses under his breath as he struggled to stand up, but managed anyway.
“No need for hospitals?” Kojiro questioned him again, just to make sure.
They glared at him, “You should walk me home.”
He was taken aback by the declaration. “Eh?”
“It’s your fault that I fell,” Sakurayashiki crossed his arms, raising his head to meet him eye to eye.
Kojiro’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion, “How is it my fault? I did nothing?”
“Do I really have to repeat it again? I fell because of you. Besides, “ they paused, pulling up the cuffs of his pants which showed a bleeding wound on his calves, “it’s not like I can walk easily with this.”
Kojiro winced with the amount of blood on it, “And you say that it’s just a scratch.” He sighed, offered his arms for support and Cherry leaned so suddenly that they almost fell. “Jeez, at least warn me first.”
It was the first time Kojiro did a thing that he didn’t usually do for Kaoru, not knowing he was about to take more of them.
The next morning, Kaoru started hanging out with him.
It goes like this. Kojiro walks out of his class, the next thing he knew, he was being dragged by Kaoru to the nearby vending machine and he wasn’t even able to voice his complaints until Kaoru pushes a can of soda to his chest.
“A soda?” Kaoru replied with a frown.
Kaoru sighed exasperatedly, as if he’s swallowing his huge pride, “That’s thanks for last night.” He grinned, “Also, come with me somewhere.”
The knowing smirk didn’t leave a good impression on him. He chuckled nervously, not having an idea of what’s going on with that pretty head of Kaoru. “Why does it sound like I have no choice?”
“Oh, shut up. I’m sure you’re going to like it.”
He loved it.
They went to a nearby skateboard shop and just as Kaoru was looking to buy some parts for his broken board, Kojiro gets his first owned skateboard that he bought impulsively just because a pretty guy named Kaoru thought that he’ll look less plain with it.
“I hate you,” Kojiro groaned after falling from his skateboard for the fifth time that day, “You’re the worst decision I’ve made.”
Kaoru only shrugs, flipping his finger off him, “What a pleasure to be hated.”
Kojiro starts learning, earning bruises from every fall, being laughed at by Cherry who apparently just as bad as him even though he had been skating for a week or so. They both sucked at it.
But it was the most fun that Kojiro ever had.
Weeks after weeks, bruises after bruises, pained grazes and blood, and yet Kojiro can’t seem to give it up, not when his heart feels so satisfied with skating with Kaoru on his side.
He wanted to embrace it with everything he’s got.
“You’re loosening up a little,” Kaoru says as they absentmindedly skated in circles at an abandoned parking lot.
Kojiro frowned, “What do you even mean by that?”
“You looked so stiff and plain before, so boring,” he gestured his hands in an unsightly manner.
He caught up beside Kaoru and skated beside them, “The hell is that? I feel insulted?”
“Look, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing,” he rolled their eyes, but a smile can be found resting on their lips, “it’s just fun discovering another side of you.”
That day, Kojiro lands his first ollie. Kaoru also did.
As the years pass, both of them leave the beginnings as they started moving towards an unspoken challenge to be better than each other. Their competitiveness led them to race through the streets only being lit by the soft glow of the moon, gathering accomplices and memories along the way. They ran, away from the chains of normalcy, away from the guards that keep them on the ground. They wanted to fly.
Skating was fun, Kojiro thought. But it’s even better when he’s skating with Kaoru.
“Sakurayashiki Kaoru, huh?” Kojiro mutters as he laid his back comfortably on Kaoru’s bed, “That’s a long-ass name.”
Kaoru paused from what he was doing and looked at him. ”What? Got a problem with it?”
Kojiro had invited himself to Kaoru’s room in the middle of the night, knowing that the other isn’t probably asleep, or perhaps can’t sleep. Truth be told, he found them planning a complicated code of some sorts for the board that they wished to make.
“The other guys call you Cherry,” he pulled one of the pillows and placed his arms over it. Their only source of light would be from Kaoru’s desk lamp did a great job reflecting his beauty. “Now that I think about it, it actually suits you.”
He puffed out a breath, amused with the way Kojiro looked so soft on his bed. “I’m surprised that you can even think,” he said with a chuckle.
“Asshole,” Kojiro yawned, closing his eyes with the process and not opening them up when he felt the wave of sleepiness hitting him. “I guess I wanted to call you with something else.”
A moment of silence passes the two, both understanding what Kojiro actually meant with his words. A sense of competitiveness, or perhaps a hint of being possessive. Unsaid words that both of them were the firsts ones to meet each other, that they were the best of friends. A little silly in the eyes of an outsider.
“If it satisfies you,” Kaoru was the one who broke the quietude, “Kaoru is fine.”
“Yeah?” Kojiro mumbled, half asleep.
When the sun rose the next morning, they found themselves under Kaoru’s comfy bed sheets, limbs tangled with satisfaction.
Both of them had a silent agreement to never talk about it ever again.
At one time, Kojiro thought that everything would stay the same, at least in his own type of same where he’s satisfied with his skating alongside Kaoru. But time passes, and people often change to accompany it.
He was ready to face life, slow and steady just like water simmering on a pot, waiting for the pieces to complete and show it themselves, and not like his skating where he dives headfirst to try new tricks because it was fun.
That was until their last year of high school.
A completely unplanned mystery that uncovered hidden feelings that Kojiro never knew was there.
It’s like wandering on foreign land and stumbling upon a precious material, but you weren’t supposed to unearth it because of the consequences that might happen, so he ended up just admiring it from a very safe distance.
However, someone carefully gets the thing. He allowed them because he thought that it would be the best.
But then, they break it. And Kojiro was left trying to fix what was left.
It all happened so quick, like the adrenaline pumping inside his veins whenever he skates, but when all the euphoria was gone, both of them were left with aching hearts with a bitter taste inside their mouths.
Adam, he can say, was way too good at skating.
Kaoru was allured just like a man trapped in a song of sirens. Kojiro saw how his golden eyes lit up whenever his sight lands on Adam. Kojiro saw how his lips slightly parted when Adam first showed his face without the hood, saying that it was alright to see him because he trusted them both.
Kojiro was there on Kaoru’s bed, listening as they ranted with how much they admired Adam, or how strong their arms felt when they almost fell and Adam caught them.
“Have you seen him? He caught me so easily, and holy shit, the muscles in his arms. He’s so strong.”
And even though Kojiro was irked by the way they talked about him, he just listened because Kaoru’s voice is home, no matter whichever things he wanted to talk about. Even if it’s Adam.
‘Strong,’ Kojiro inwardly mumbled, eyes drifting to see Kaoru’s pretty face tinted with a faint blush on their cheeks, ‘Maybe I should start working out.’
He had always wondered why it doesn’t sit so well with him. He questioned why his chest aches with the thought of Kaoru’s vision not being on him. He hated it.
Then, the realization hit him like a truck at the worst time possible.
Adam had changed chronically. It started with something small, like the sparkle in his eyes fading when he skated with them. He drifted away, so sudden until it was so visible that he had become a different person.
Kojiro saw it all.
The disbelief and betrayal on Kaoru’s face when Adam started S and left Japan surged him like a hurricane. He saw how they almost threw their board away because of how much anger he had contained.
Kojiro was there when Kaoru breaks down on his bed, his breathing too ragged that he almost passed out as he tried to muffle down his sobs.
The light of the moon seeped through the curtains of his room, its lost rays hitting the curves of their face-covered tears that gently mirror his sorrow inside. His arms were around Kaoru’s waist, their head leaning on his shoulders as they whimpered softly, having their heartbroken for the first time.
Kojiro watched. He knew that it was the only thing he can do, even if he wanted to do more. Something like kissing away the tears from Kaoru’s aureate eyes or maybe mending his fragmented core, but he sat there in silence, only lending himself to be used, even though he wanted to kiss him so bad.
Having feelings with his best friend is such a hassle.
He had kept his mouth shut about his feelings for years and years, until they reached the point of being full-grown adults, not wanting to cause any more selfish thoughts that he knows would break Kaoru. After knowing them for the past decade, Kojiro’s aware of how he had developed the habit of thinking too much until they won’t be able to fall asleep. He didn’t want to burden him with such feelings after having all those disadvantages thrown in front of him.
So he went out, kissed, and fucked girls with names that he can’t even remember just to forget the person he loves the most.
“You’re really gonna keep doing that? Aren’t you tired?” Kaoru asked him one night when he caught him kissing two girls at the S.
Kojiro only shrugged, averting the piercing glare that they sent him. “I have my reasons.”
“You should stop.”
He didn’t. He knows that he could, but he won’t. Not when he’s trying to forget those unsolicited romantic feelings buried deep inside his chest. He can’t do it when the only thing that distracts him from thinking about him is distracting himself.
But then, he remembers the disappointed look on Kaoru’s face, and his heart clenches.
Is he jealous? Kojiro shook his head with the thought. There’s no chance at all.
If he only wasn’t an idiot, in love with skating (and the person who introduced him to it), he would’ve quit for a long time already. Skating had always been his escape whenever he thought too much. However, just a few months after, it became the reason that his mind never shut up.
Just like a mushroom, Adam popped back into their lives so easily. Kojiro wanted to beat him in skating to chase s closure with the mess that he had started, but he knows that Kaoru was the most affected one between them.
The moon way up in the sky when Kojiro ran to the starting line of the race, and just like he suspected, the person he was looking for was there.
Kaoru was standing along with Adam, their skateboards in their hands. Their face was filled with determination and a glint of hope that maybe, Adam hasn’t changed after all. He looked so beautiful that Kojiro almost forgot how to speak.
“Cherry!” He called, worry etching on his face. He wanted to stop him, to hug him right there and maybe he would change his mind. Adam is a dangerous opponent, far way too different from what he used to be. But looking at Kaoru’s masked face, he knows that it wouldn’t be the right thing to do.
Kaoru looked back into his eyes. “I’m gonna defeat him”
It didn’t go as planned. Everyone knows that something wouldn’t go as planned if someone smacked a skateboard on your face.
Kojiro thinks that it was the fastest that he had ever run. So much anger fueled inside him but his worry for them was way too high to even care about Adam. He wanted to punch him, maybe break his neck. All sorts of thoughts were coming inside his head.
Everything stops when he sees Kaoru unconscious on the ground.
“Kaoru! Can you hear me? Kaoru?!” he called for his name, fear evident with his pleas.
Everything came in a blur after that. There comes Adam who couldn’t care less about what he did, then the anger, and he was being stopped by Shadow. There were also the tears that threatened to fall from his eyes while holding the Kaoru inside his arms.
“Kaoru, please, I love you, stay, please—”
He remembers the rush to the hospital, doctors, and nurses on their white clothes ushering him to wait outside.
He recalled the way he was relieved to hear that Kaoru’s being is stable. He stayed there beside his bed, his hands holding Kaoru’s uninjured one, waiting for him to wake up.
“Kojiro,” he heard him call after a few hours, their eyes trying to blink away to fuzziness in his brain.
“Kaoru,” his eyes widened, a sudden halt to his once sleepy state, “I should call a doctor—”
“Stay,” Kaoru stopped him, the grip on their hands tightening. He was about to protest until they said, “I want you here.”
His body tensed, his gaze landing on Kaoru’s face covered in bandages.
Kaoru opened his eyes fully, meeting Kojiro’s. “Oh. You’re crying.”
He blinked with the realization that he was indeed crying. He quickly wiped away the lost tears that fell and toughened his expression. “I was worried, you idiot.”
They sighed, closing their eyes as they spoke the words casually. “I love you too, you know?”
Kojiro stilled, all of his breath leaving his lungs with the sudden statement. “What?”
Kaoru laughed dryly, opening their eyes to look at his confused face. “You really think that I’m that dense? You were too obvious.”
He bit his lip, realization dawning into his soul. “Then why didn’t you say anything?”
“I don’t deserve you. I’ve always hurt you but I didn’t know how to stop it,” Kaoru’s voice broke. They paused, sighing as they tried to release their grip from Kojiro’s hand. “I didn’t want to be selfish.”
A soft smile formed on Kojiro’s lips, his hands chasing Kaoru’s. He caressed their injured cheeks and looked at them like the moonstruck person that he is. “Kaoru,” he called, watching how their eyes started to water, “I’ve always been yours ever since we first met.”
Kojiro and Kaoru stayed beside each other in total silence, with only the moonlight illuminating the room. It’s always been them, together, and even though there were only little words that were said, they understood that starting from this night, they’ll have all the time that they needed.