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Let’s Pretend Together

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“Onigawara-kun, I need you to pretend to be my boyfriend.”

It was like a scene from one of the terrible shoujo manga that his grandmother used to keep around the apartment (not that Onigawara would end up reading them when she wasn’t around or anything…well, what else was he supposed to do when he had to put them away?!). In fact, he laughed, a nervous, sweaty half-chuckle. “C’mon, Musashi. Quit messin’ around.”

But Musashi wasn’t laughing. He wasn’t even smiling. Everything about him was dead, stone-cold seriousness. “I’m not joking. This is what the Body Improvement Club is all about. Getting better, and being comfortable in your body, and being able to live your life on your own terms. Mob needs our support in doing just that.”

Mob. Right. That’s who this was for.

That afternoon, Mob had come into the weight room already covered in sweat, his fingers shaking, face pale. Sitting down heavily on one of the dumbbell benches, he put his head in his hands and started gasping for air. Yamamura got up from stretching and walked over to put his hand on Mob’s shoulder. “Hey, kid. Did you already go running without us?”

“Were you going to push yourself to run twice during the same practice?! That’s awesome!” Shimura exclaimed from the rowing machine.

Musashi had just glanced up from where he was spotting Onigawara doing chest presses, fingers resting on the underside of the bar, ready to catch it. Not that he needed to worry - Onigawara made it a point never to slip up when Musashi was watching him - but… “Let him catch his breath so he can talk, guys,” he said, glancing down and giving Onigawara an encouraging smile. “One more for this set.”

Once the equipment was back in the stand, Musashi wandered over to where Mob was still sitting, now staring at the floor. “You okay? What happened?”

Finally, Mob barely spoke the words that tumbled out of his mouth in one silent breath. “Hanazawa-kun asked me out on a date.”

It was probably because of the roar of congratulations that Onigawara wasn’t able to hear what Mob said to Musashi after that, but the larger boy had stayed kneeling in front of him, and despite the others clapping and high-fiving on behalf of their teammate, Mob seemed absolutely terrified. Like Hanazawa had challenged him to (another) fight and not out for dinner or whatever.

Then, Musashi came back over to Onigawara, nodded towards the door and…here they were.

“But uh. How exactly is us pretending to be a thing going to help? He just seems scared. He’ll chill out.”

“There’s more to it than that.” Musashi crossed his arms over his chest. “Mob is nervous because Hanazawa doesn’t know he’s trans.”

“Oh.”

It felt like a dumb response even as he said it, but he was at a loss as to what else to say. Before the Body Improvement Club, he had never experienced anyone like that before, and now, knowing it about both Mob and Musashi, it was still all pretty new. After practice the first time, when they were all getting changed, he had seen Musashi in the black, form-fitting top underneath his regular clothes, and he must have been looking a bit too long because he turned and noticed. “It’s a binder,” Musashi said, without even being asked.

“I know that!” Onigawara replied, defensively, even though it was a blatant lie. “I ain’t stupid.”

“Okay, okay.” Musashi’s stern gaze softened a bit. “Take it easy. I didn’t mean it like that. Just…throws some people. Most folks don’t know what it is.”

“Well, I’m not ‘some people.’” When he looked around at the other club members, they were all going about their normal business, largely unconcerned. They didn’t have a problem, so why should he? “Wear what you want, man.”

“Is it comfortable?”

Now there was silence in the locker room, and all eyes turned to Mob. Mob, who always changed in the bathroom stall and never in the main area with the others. Who was looking up at Musashi with a wondering, questioning expression, eyes wide, his backpack held to his chest.

“Yeah,” Musashi said after a moment, “but my first one wasn’t.”

“And you just…wear it under your clothes?”

Musashi nodded, and even though Onigawara wasn’t sure at the time what was happening, he kept quiet and watched them talk.

“Did you…do your parents know?” Mob asked, fingers tightening on his bag.

“Yeah, we talked about it. I paid for it, though, with my own money.”

“Could you…” Mob’s voice seemed to break, but he cleared it and said quickly, probably louder than he meant to, “Could you help me get one if I can pay you back?!”

That night, Onigawara had done a lot of reading. On his phone on the way home on the bus, to and from the nursing home, on the way to work… and even learning as much as he could he still had a million questions. But no matter how much new knowledge he had, it didn’t change one fact that had been true from the day that Musashi approached him and asked him to join the club.

He liked Musashi. A lot. The fact that he was…or had…or whatever…it didn’t matter. He liked Musashi for who he was: strong and kind and fun, when he chilled out.

“Do you…like guys?” Onigawara asked, the words going high in his throat.

“Yeah. Don’t you?”

“Whattaya mean ‘don’t you’?!”

“I always thought you did.”

“Well, good. ‘Cause yeah, I do.” He flicked the side of his nose with the pad of his thumb, leaning back against the hallway wall. “So you think that if we tell Mob that a dude like me and a dude like you can be going out and whatnot, he’ll feel better ‘cause it would be like him and this Hanazawa kid?”

“Basically.” For the first time, Musashi’s gaze shifted to the ceiling above them, the corners of his mouth turning down. “If you’re really not comfortable with it, I understand. I just think it could help him feel better. I hate to think he’s always going to be scared of reaching out, because of who he is, you know?”

Dammit, Onigawara hated that look on his face. And he hated even more that he wasn’t actually asking him out, because he would have said ‘yes’ without even hesitating. But that didn’t seem to be happening, so… “I’m not uncomfortable! I am totally comfortable! I’ll fake date the hell out of ya!”

Musashi startled back a bit at the sudden outburst, but smiled, completely relieved, giving Onigawara a somewhat painful slap on the arm. “Great. Okay. Let’s do this, then.”

Before he could even consider that he might do so, Musashi reached over and grabbed Onigawara’s hand. And he didn’t just hold it either; he threaded his fingers between his so their palms were pressed together. Onigawara felt a flash of heat rise in his cheeks at the sensation of dry fingertips touching his knuckles, and for a moment he was worried his hand was going to start sweating. As Musashi led him back down to where everyone was waiting, he whispered, a half-assed joke, “You’re pretty good at that, ‘Sashi. You done this before or something?”

“Shut up,” Musashi huffed. Compared to the stillness of the hall, opening the door back into the weight room was deafening. The entire Body Improvement Club still crowded around Mob, messing up his hair, trying to give him pointers about the “perfect first date” (not that half of them have even been on one…). But when Musashi cleared his throat, the room clammed up and glanced back at him. No. Them.

“Since we’re talking about dates and stuff, I wanted to let you all know that…Onigawara-kun and I are dating. Officially.”

Kumagawa broke the silence when he shoved Yamamura and opened and closed his hand at him. “Sounds like someone owes me twelve hundred yen. Pay up.”

“Really?!” Mob jumped up from where he had been sitting and excitedly ran up to them with such energy that he nearly tripped over a pair of hand weights that had been left on the floor. “Congratulations!”

“Um…thanks,” Onigawara replied, rubbing the back of his neck.

“Please come with me on Friday to dinner and the movies!”

“What?!” they both asked in unison. This was a curveball that neither of them were expecting.

Mob stared at them pleading, finally putting his palms together and bowing. “I’ll feel…so much better if you guys can be there. I know I should just go myself, but I’ve never been asked out and I know I can be even braver if my Body Improvement senpais are with me. I’m so sorry, I know it’s silly, and I hate to impose.”

Onigawara knew what Musashi was going to say even before he agreed. He could practically hear his heart grow at ‘Body Improvement senpais.’ So instead, he just sighed and turned to Musashi and asked, “So…uh…am I picking you up or what?”

That night, as he sat in bed in the silent apartment, unable to focus on homework or sleeping or anything else, Onigawara stared at his cell phone. Ten digits stared right back up at him. Musashi’s number. Musashi had given him his cell phone number, and that fact should have made him giddy. He should have been excited and practically overjoyed and he should have been nervous about what he would say or what Musashi might reply or…

Well, he was nervous. That part was true.

But also…

“I guess if we’re going to be acting like we’re together in person, we better talk a bit between now and then,” Musashi had said. “Just text me whenever. I tend to stay up late.”

“This feels like cramming for a test,” Onigawara had commented as he called him so he had his number as well, then disconnected before he picked up. “Two days is, like, a crazy amount of time to figure out…us, ya know?”

Musashi shrugged. “I’m not worried about it. It’s just like being friends. With other stuff.”

Other stuff.

Onigawara must have gone a bit pale, because Musashi gave him a little grin and shouldered him (nearly sending him into his locker). “Don’t worry. I’m not going to try any ‘other stuff’ on our date.”

Our date. “Ha ha. Good. No funny business. I don’t put out, ya know.”

They had laughed.

Onigawara punched his pillow before smashing his face into it, his long yell of frustration muffled by the cotton material. Why the hell had he agreed to this? Even pining like a lovesick puppy was better than this.

Suddenly, his phone vibrated, one long pulse for a text message. Oh God. Oh God.

Musashi: You up?

Oh God. Oh God.

Onigawara: Yeah. Just lying around. You?

Musashi: Same.

Onigawara: Cool.

Musashi: So…is it just you or do you have any brothers and sisters?

Okay, good. It seemed that Musashi was going to be at least starting things off. That was something. One less thing for him to worry about, anyway.

Onigawara: Just me. My grandmother’s in a home across town, so I’ve got the place to myself.

Musashi: Where are your parents?

Onigawara: Dad died when I was a kid. I don’t know where Mom is.

Musashi: Oh. Sorry…

Was it too much, telling him all that? This wasn’t even supposed to be serious. He should have just made something up. But…no. That would have made him feel worse.

Onigawara: It’s okay. I don’t care or anything. It’s been a long time, so whatever.

His fingers hovered for a second. Then, he smirked and typed.

Onigawara: Why? You want to come over?

Why the hell had he said that?! He quickly added before Musashi could reply.

Onigawara: Haha, just kidding. How about you? What’s your family like?

Musashi: Haha, nice recovery, hotshot. And the basics, really…Mom, Dad and three brothers and four sisters.

Onigawara practically choked.

Onigawara: Dude! That’s insane.

Musashi: Is it? Two of my sisters are older. Then it’s me and everyone else.

Onigawara: Do you all get along?

Musashi: Yeah, mostly. I help with my parents with the smaller kids, and we all go to school in the same area, but it’s pretty exhausting sometimes.

Onigawara: No wonder you’re so good with the team.

Musashi: You all aren’t quite as bad as a couple of six-year-olds. But I appreciate it. Also helps having more than 1.5 bathrooms.

Onigawara realized that he had started smiling so wide that his face hurt a bit. Trying to imagine a dozen kids running around trying to get Musashi’s attention was just…well, he didn’t like the word ‘adorable’ but that was basically it.

But then he made the mistake of thinking about meeting them and…fuck. Fuck.

Musashi: So I was thinking maybe we could get some Wacdonald’s or something after practice tomorrow and figure some stuff out. You free?

He wasn’t supposed to be. He was supposed to work a double the next night and somehow get a few hours of sleep before classes. But…maybe…well, it wasn’t like he ever called in sick, so he could make it happen. Just this once. His crappy job certainly wasn’t going to be handing out ribbons for perfect attendance…

Onigawara: Sure. I’m in.

Musashi: Great. I’m going to head to bed. Dream about me, boyfriend. ;)

Onigawara: Haha. Night.

When he turned off the lights and buried his face in the pillow again, he was glad that they had only talked by text. Because if they had been speaking, there was no way Musashi wouldn’t have noticed his breath shudder and his voice cut short, and if he didn’t hang up, he would have heard his pathetic, stupid, heartbroken sniffing.

The next day’s classes couldn’t have gone any slower if they tried. Onigawara was a bouncing ball of nervous energy. Even going so far as to avoid his normal crew, he spent the free periods wandering outside the school where he knew that none of the teachers could see him from the window. Once he was sure that all the classes were in full swing, he stepped into the wooded area on the outskirts of the school property, creeping through the nettles and bramble to a place that only he knew.

Onigawara had found the decrepit storage shed two semesters before, and had spent nearly a month watching it to make sure it was, in fact, not being used. The aluminum siding was rusty and overgrown with ivy and moss, and the single, tiny window had been long ago broken. Once he was a thousand percent sure that no one was doing anything with it, he cleaned it out, hung up a curtain over the shattered glass panes and even put another lock on the door. Then, he waited another two weeks just to be totally sure.

Now, he sat inside on the cheap futon he had dragged in over the summer, listening to the sounds outside. A breeze ruffled the pale blue curtain, and a black bird was calling loudly from the ash tree outside. He stared up at the picture of the Body Improvement Club that he had put up on the ceiling of the shack, arms behind his head.

“Figure some stuff out,” Musashi had said. What was there to figure out? The part he was going to play? Their lines?

“God dammit!” he yelled, hitting the floor with his fist. Outside, the bird stopped calling and flapped away.

Then, there was a knock.

Onigawara froze, all of the blood running out of his face. Maybe it was just a tree branch moving in the breeze. Or he had rattled something when he shouted. Or…

Another knock.

Oh shit, he was going to get suspended. This was it. Game over.

“Onigawara-kun? Are you in there?”

Now, his heart went from beating double time to quadruple time. Musashi! How the hell had Musashi found this place?! This was even worse, because he probably wasn’t going to just leave. Not when he had heard his voice and all. Quickly, Onigawara jumped to his feet and opened the door, dragging the other boy in by the arm. “What the hell are ya doing here?!” he whisper-shouted. “Did anyone follow you?!”

Musashi blinked, looking around the space with wide eyes. “No. It’s just me. Is it okay? Did you want me to leave?”

Onigawara sighed. “No point in it now. How did you find me?”

“I was putting away some equipment for the phys ed teacher, and I saw you going into the woods. How long have you had this place?”

He shrugged, trying to play it off. “A while, I guess. Come out here sometimes to…” He almost said ‘think,’ but that wouldn’t really be fitting. “Avoid study periods.”

“It’s really cool.”

“You think so?”

“Yeah. Can I hang out with you for a bit?”

Onigawara’s lungs had taken up playing pong with his heart, and he finally swallowed, trying to end the match. “If ya want. Free country.”

Tentatively, Musashi went to sit on the floor, but Onigawara stopped him. “Don’t. It’s still kind of…old and dirty and stuff. You can take the futon. I don’t mind.” But then when he moved, Musashi was the one with his hand out.

“It’s big enough. We can both sit on it.”

Someone had started fast-forwarding the pong match. “Oh…okay.”

They both sat in silence, so close that their knees pressed together. Onigawara wanted to scoot over, but he found himself petrified to even breath the wrong way. Had he ever actually seen Musashi in his uniform? Never in a million years would he have thought that one of a billion black school shirts and slacks would look good one someone, but…it did. It made him want to smooth out his own rumpled jacket, made him self conscious of how ill-fitting his pants were.

“So who do you think kissed who first?”

Onigawara managed to start coughing even though he hadn’t been drinking anything. “What?!”

Musashi seemed absolutely placid and nonplussed, not even turning to look at him. Instead, he seemed to still be taking in the surroundings, settling his gaze on the makeshift curtain. “I mean, are you the type of guy who makes the first move, or do you think it would have been an accident, or…?”

“I don’t know, man! Geez!” Who the hell knew that Musashi was so shameless?! “I hadn’t even thought about it!” Lies. All of it. He had imagined kissing Musashi for months.

Now Musashi did glance back at him, eyes focused on his, now and then glancing at his mouth. Onigawara chewed on his lip, worrying at a bit of dry skin. “It’s one of those things we should probably decide. What sort of chemistry we’ve had to this point.”

“Well, what do you think, then?” It felt like his face was going to melt off. Musashi was unnervingly calm. Considerate.

“I think maybe I would have,” he said finally, with a slight nod. “After our first date. I would have walked you home, and you probably would have griped about it, because you can handle yourself, but…I would have wanted to. I think I would have been overly protective of you, at the start. Because, sure, you give off this whole…delinquent persona thing or whatever, but…yeah, I would have kissed you goodnight, that first time.”

Onigawara realized when his eyes started itching that he hadn’t blinked the entire time that Musashi had been talking about their first kiss. It wasn’t even the thought of kissing him - although that was enough to make his guts vibrate - but how specific the scene was. How much he had tried to figure him out. “Do ya think…it would have been…good?”

Musashi didn’t seem to notice how quiet Onigawara had gotten. Or if he did, he didn’t change how he spoke at all. “I think you still would have been yammering on about what movie we saw, or whatever restaurant we went to. And I probably would have done it to shut you up for a second.”

“That ain’t exactly romantic, you know.”

“You would have gotten into it, though. I think you would have liked it.”

“Yeah?” Onigawara suddenly noticed how much closer he had gotten to Musashi. He could make out all the soft hairs along his jawline, the way his bushy sideburns never really ended so much as thinned out into a peach fuzz that went under his chin. And this close, he could see how thick his lashes were, long and naturally curled. “Sounds like you got me all figured out.”

“I don’t think you’re as complicated as you’d like to be.” Now, the words were lower, husky and rough. His hand rested on top of his, skirting a scab from where he had tripped while they were running.

One inch between their lips felt like a mile…

“Like you’re so simple, right?”

A half mile…

“What you see is what you get.”

A quarter…

“Good. ‘Cause I like what I see.”

And then the bell rang.

They both clambered up to their feet, and for a second, it was dizzying. It felt like being asleep and then sitting up too fast, and all of the butterflies in Onigawara’s stomach woke up and took off, bumping into one another. Oh God. Oh God, he had almost kissed his not at all boyfriend and…oh God.

“So, Wacdonald’s after practice. Still game?” Musashi asked as he pushed the door the open. His nose was a dark red, and he wouldn’t look directly at Onigawara.

“Yeah. Sounds good. If you’re paying,” Onigawara teased, trying to bring the mood back to normal.

“Only if you add an extra ten pounds to your leg press.”

“Ha. Easy. Get ready to put your money where your mouth is, dude.”

They both turned even redder and walked back in silence after that, Onigawara mentally kicking himself the whole way. So much for normal.

The next day, Onigawara figured that he felt as ready as he was going to be. Wacdonald’s hadn’t been nearly as heavy an experience as the shed. In fact, they both seemed a bit more relaxed. They talked about places they may have gone as a couple (Musashi liked beaches and quiet, while Onigawara liked amusement parks), television shows they had watched together (“I can’t believe you haven’t watched Game of Thrones.” “My parents would kill me if any of the kids walked in during it.”), and their favorite foods (neither of them could stomach spicey stuff).

Outside of the movie theater, the bancho shoved his hands into his leather jacket pockets. Although he had joked about picking Musashi up, he didn’t have a car, so they had decided to meet outside near the parking lot.

Then, there he was. If Onigawara thought that Musashi looked good in his uniform, there was absolutely no comparing him to what he was wearing now: a worn t-shirt that had been made to look like a vintage football jersey under a plaid, soft flannel and black jeans. It was like he had just walked out of a casual apparel magazine, brown hair combed back with just a little bit of product (not nearly as much as it took to maintain Onigawara’s pompadour, but still).

“Damn. Did ya get all dressed up just for me?” Onigawara joked.

“I figure I’m the one in this relationship who does all the work,” Musashi retorted.

“You wound me.”

“Gentlemen.” Both of them turned to acknowledge Hanazawa, who had arrived with Mob in tow. He was wearing a heinously colorful sweater with his khakis, and Mob had a blue button-down shirt with slacks and a relieved smile on his face when he saw them together. “Nice to see you again.”

It had been a while since the big multi-school fight where they had all seen each other for the first time. Granted, everyone had apologized and amends had been made, but still. Onigawara couldn’t help giving him his most intimidating face, lip curled. “What’s up, trouble?”

Hanazawa grinned.

“Hello, Hanazawa-kun,” Musashi greeted, and he pulled Onigawara under his arm, making it very, very difficult for him to keep looming over the middle-schooler. “Don’t be like that, Tenga. All of that’s in the past.”

Tenga. The way Musashi said it made it sound like it something more than his name. Like it was an incantation. A magic word. He wanted to hear it again and again and –

“Come on. Movie starts in ten, and I don’t want to miss the trailers.” Hanazawa nodded at Mob. “I’ll get you whatever you want from the snack stand, Mob-kun.”

“Oh…um…thanks, you don’t have to.”

“I want to!”

This time, as they walked in, Onigawara took Musashi’s hand instead, squeezing it as they headed to concessions.

“Okay, there’s no way Chirrut and Baze weren’t married. The evidence is all there.”

“Are there no rings in Star Wars? I feel like that would have settled this once and for all.”

“And the freaking ship fights were bad ass!”

“Mob, it’s okay. Don’t cry.”

They were all still excitedly talking about Rogue One when they sat down to eat at the diner after the movie. Mob was sniffing, nearly inconsolable over the ending of the film, and Hanazawa was trying to cheer him up with promises of cheese fries and a milkshake. Onigawara frankly was glad that they seemed to be doing so well together, because it gave him the chance to excitedly talk to Musashi. “Two awesome freaking guys, kicking ass and taking names! I want a whole movie just about them.”

Musashi laughed. “I would watch that.”

“Hell yeah, you would.” Onigawara smiled as he looked at the menu. He could still feel Musashi staring at the side of his face, and he elbowed him. “Figure out what you’re getting so I can buy you dinner, dummy.”

He didn’t move to take a menu, though. Instead, he leaned over and for a second Onigawara figured he was trying to look at his menu but that possibility shattered when he felt his lips on his cheek. It took a second for the fact of what was happening to become apparent. Musashi kissed him. On his face. Could he feel how hard his heart was beating under his skin? And it wasn’t a quick peck, either. He lingered. Onigawara turned toward him, their noses nearly colliding.

Musashi smiled. “You’re really cute, Tenga-kun,” he said, softly.

The only response that came out was something like gibberish and then, a hurried, squeaky, “I gotta go to the bathroom, be right back, get me a root beer, would ya, I’ll just be a second,” and Onigawara ran to the men’s room.  

As he sat down heavily on the toilet, he was breathing so fast that he thought he was going to pass out. Everything hurt: his chest, his eyes, his muscles, his hands that were balled up and pressed into his forehead. It felt like being torn apart by two separate fields of gravity: a world where he wanted to love being there with Musashi and a world where he wanted to run away, because neither was real. This was a fantasy. An illusion. And here, now, there was no private space for him, no pillow to scream into. He just had to bury it all down so it didn’t rip through him.

Once he figured he had calmed down enough, he got up, kicked the toilet handle for the sake of appearances, and opened the stall door…only to almost immediately run into Musashi.

“Dude! What are ya doing? You scared the crap out of me!”

“Are you okay?” Musashi’s eyes were so concerned that Onigawa could barely meet them.

“Yeah, s’fine. Are you? Bein’…here and all?”

Musashi turned his head in confusion at first and then a realization dawned on him. “Yeah, I’ve been using the men’s room for the last year.”

“That’s not…” Onigawara sighed heavily, moving around him to wash his hands in the sink, even though he didn’t need to. “I meant, with me.”

The “clarification” only seemed to make Musashi more confused, and he stepped beside him, staring into the mirror. “Yeah, I do. I’ve had more fun tonight than I have in a while.”

“Good. Great. I’m glad.” He didn’t sound like it. He sounded sullen to an annoying extent. Snatching a paper towel from the dispenser, Onigawara wiped his hands and slammed the ball of trash into the receptacle. “Guess we should head back out there.”

“Wait.”

“What?”

Onigawara leaned against the corner of the tile wall, wiping his still-damp hands against his acid-washed jeans. Musashi stood stock still, staring at him, and then he said, “I changed my mind.”

“‘Bout what? Me?”

He nodded, and the urge to flee nearly sent Onigawara packing. But he didn’t. He waited, expectantly. He wasn’t going to make it easy for him. If he wanted to say that he had become uncomfortable or that he didn’t actually want to go through with this, he wasn’t going to make it easy for him. Musashi was going to have to tell him. To his face.

“I don’t want to fake it,” Musashi whispered.

Onigawara kicked away from the wall, his hand on the door. Over. It was all over. “That’s fine. I can just bail. Just cover for me, would ya? Make up something, like I got sick or –”

But before he could pull the door open, warm arms went around his waist, not yanking him back so much as keeping him rooted to the spot. Onigawara’s body went stiff as he could feel the words being said in his ear as much as he could hear them. “That’s not what I mean.” Then, “I want this to be a real date with you. And I want more real dates, too. Just us.”

Onigawara almost thought that he hadn’t even heard him, that maybe all the pent-up frustration had manifested into some hallucination of how he wanted this to go, but…no. He was too heavy a weight on his back for him to think this was just incidental, and he regarded him over his shoulder, the side of Musashi’s jaw, the set line of his mouth, serious and maybe even a little afraid. And for once, it wasn’t his heartbeat he was noticing, but Musashi’s: a steady, thrumming pulse against his shoulder blades. He squirmed so he could face him fully, putting his weight back on the door so they wouldn’t be interrupted. Any other customers were just going to have to hold it for a second.

“Me too,” he said finally, the admission releasing out of him like a knot coming loose, and he wrapped his arms around Musashi. “I always did.”

A deep sigh was released, content. “Maybe we should have just told each other instead of doing…all this.” Musashi chuckled, firm biceps flexing as he hugged Onigawara.

“Woulda been a lot easier, yeah.” Onigawara pressed his forehead against Musashi’s shoulder, trying to hide the dorky smile on his face.

“I think we should reconsider one part of it, though,” Musashi said, bumping his forehead against Onigawara’s.

“What’s that?”

“I want you to kiss me first. Here. Now.”

Onigawara almost hesitated. Almost. But he kept thinking about how they had been interrupted before, and he pulled his hands back so he could touch Musashi’s face gently as he leaned in and kissed him. It was perfect, even if they were in a bathroom, even if it wasn’t a goodnight kiss, but more of a…’hello, I want to be with you, let’s start this’ kiss. Everything about Musashi was what he had expected, what he had imagined, and so much more, because this was happening. He didn’t think about what he tasted like or felt like or any of those little details. All that mattered was that he was awake, not dreaming, and he gave him one more peck before going back to holding him and being held by him.

“Great first kiss,” Musashi said after a second, nuzzling his shoulder with his nose. “Much better than my idea.”

Just then, the moment was punctuated by his phone vibrating. No, both of their phones vibrating. Musashi fished Onigawara’s out of his pocket and turned it on, showing it to him.

Mob: I told him.

After exchanging a slightly panicked look, they tore out of the bathroom, pushing past patrons that had been waiting to use it. But they both started breathing again when they saw across the expanse of tables and booths Mob and Hanazawa still sitting together, smiling and laughing, without evidence of even the slightest care in the world.

Neither of them could have asked for a better first date, for each other or Mob.