Small talk, Tokiya calls it. Something he keeps insisting to be bad at, and for all Otoya’s rebuttal of 'it’s not small talk if he’s actually interested' (even if it’s just one of them for now) Otoya can see that he kind of sucks at it.
…And he is interested! On his day. From the cheerful hello, to how are yous' and how did today go? What did you do? All of them he's interested in.
Tokiya knows that tidbit too, or else he wouldn’t even deign from the most basic one word answers to something half a sentence long. Sometimes he adds an extra; like something actually happened that day for once! Instead of the dull 'it was fine’.
Other times he doesn’t get an answer, Tokiya isn’t in the mood to write back that day; it still stings as he forces himself to internalize it’s nothing personal. A needle pricks right down the middle if his chest and digs in, unearthing all of those cold, cold feelings of doubt and rejection and just overall anxiety that took root a long, long time ago.
Otoya doesn’t exactly roll with the punches so much as they slap him in the face and he tries his best not to look as unsure as he feels sometimes. He has never been one to give in though.
(He’s always been called an optimist and Otoya can’t really argue with that. He hopes for the best because he wants the best to happen, and even if that makes him a bit selfish it’s still what keeps him going. Negative stuff won’t get him if he doesn’t think about it, he just has to think about all of the good things that could happen and everything will be okay.)
Next morning Tokiya finds the energy to talk again, he doesn’t even grab his phone to reply to his own ‘Morning!!’ but instead turns to look at him through half-lidded eyes and lazy pose that can only say ‘I had a decent sleep’ and ‘is it morning already’ so easily without his usual distant stare that—that Otoya feels his heart both throb jump vibrate against his chest and then settle in relief. They are good, he didn’t say anything that grated on Tokiya’s nerves too bad or fuck up and the world is right again. Mornings have always been worth looking forward to, Tokiya just adds a little more of a blessing.
...Living with Tokiya has been more of a rollercoaster than almost anything else has.
(The first time they talked Otoya made the grave, grave mistake of asking him about his (twin?) brother Hayato. Tokiya avoided him for Almost a Two Weeks even though they were roommates and Otoya was constantly trying to track him down long enough so he could apologize.
At the end he wrote a letter and then caught Tokiya reading it past midnight, he didn’t say anything and neither did Otoya. On the morning it was a little tense, but he got to apologize properly because maybe having an Idol brother when you were just studying was a bit of a sore spot and sometimes Otoya didn’t think things through most days, but he’s been making more of an effort since.)
He can tell Tokiya has never been much of a talker, unless you wound him up long enough to hold and then bait him for something that interests him, something that he’s passionate about, like music. Music, lyrics, books, writing and not surprisingly textbook health stuff like cleanliness or a balanced diet.
(He tried to talk about sports once. And twice and three times but after the first it was just to get a reaction rather than being ignored when the room was uncomfortably silent.
Tokiya doesn’t like sports, he doesn't mind ‘a little’ exercise, but apparently talking about Soccer With Otoya is too much because then he gets excited and tries to convince Tokiya to play outside. Where he could be using his time for something productive, Otoya. Like the homework you haven’t done.)
Then he'd spiral into a proper conversation lasting from ten minutes to half hour and no more, Otoya learned that was his limit to interact before comfortable silence made its way between the two if he didn’t drag it out. Silence has always made him restless, but sometimes there was a different kind of silence after their conversations. Tokiya looked less stressed whenever those talks happened, enough Otoya was willing to just pick up his guitar and hum a little or run a few chords but nothing else. It eases him a little seeing Tokiya relaxed, even if he was still working on lyrics or studying more, it didn’t matter, because at least like that he didn’t look about to break a pen from how tight he held it.
Honesty, he worried for Tokiya. He learned early on he was the kind of guy who’d forget what sleep is to get a project done a week early just so he could do Extra work that same week where he could be resting. Otoya wasn’t exactly an overachiever unless he had the right motivation, but he did try his best, and for that to happen you needed to have sleep and at least three meals a day and some healthy exercise (there wouldn’t be enough clap emojis in the world to make Tokiya understand Health. Is. More. Than. Eating. Veggies). Tokiya did about… Almost none of those things; so really, it was up to Otoya to remind him needed them, otherwise he’d be crashing through the front door at midnight because of exhaustion.
Working With Tokiya when he didn’t want to get nagged (and he knew it was nagging. He did it on purpose and with a purpose, that it didn’t mean Otoya would be any less annoying until Tokiya paid attention) was more around like lines of Working Against Tokiya and one of the hardest things in his history as Older Sibling Otoya he has faced.
(Not Mom Friend—because Mom Friend implies he’s the responsible one… Haha…
Not Brother like at Home, because that kinda sits badly on his stomach and fills him with more than a little dread.
Tokiya doesn’t like being called his friend, and… Otoya doesn’t really want to go through that particular rejection. Unspoken, self-proclaimed older sibling doesn’t hold as much weight. Not that he thinks himself as Tokiya’s older sibling rather than friend-- but as Tokiya doesn’t take care of himself it just… Reminds him of Home, where everyone could use a little help too.
Really, he can accept not being called ‘friend’ even if he thinks they already kinda are, some people are stubborn that way, plus there’s a bit of a one-way wall there but he knows respect and boundaries are Important. He has them too; they are just—very few and very personal as opposed to just making friends.
He doesn’t get to headlock Tokiya yet just like Tokiya doesn’t get to throw him an eraser or even a pillow juuust yet. Otoya’s used to rough-housing and it involves a kind of trust he knows Tokiya doesn’t have with him yet, the kind of trust you know you wouldn’t actually hurt them even if they’re the most exasperating person in the universe. The fact Tokiya is very Polite and Mannered in comparison to Otoya who speaks to almost everyone in First Name Basis isn’t lost to him either.
The moment Tokiya throws him a pillow is the moment Otoya gets to go up-and-personal and actually, really, drag him around to do Things. Like relaxing or eating or Hang Out and the forbidden Going Outside for any or maybe all of those things, and because he’s one of the smartest, most talented people he knows, Otoya knows Tokiya knows that).
It’s been an Experience. Tokiya would get all huffy and twitchy with this intensely heavy stare that usually make him back off, but. But Otoya usually was on a mission, and that mission was to get him to eat at mornings because even if he was the one groggy, Tokiya was the one up to finish details of whatever Thing he’s always at and never remembered to pack brunch either. Home cooked meals are easier on the wallet.
Dinner too, Otoya noticed he didn’t arrive at evening—he went off to do something (a job? Probably a job, but… A night job? Tokiya??) and didn’t come back until the high hours in the morning where Otoya was just dead. Instead when he was done with homework he dined a bit later than usual, readied a cookbook, and tried to make some dish that wouldn’t hurt Tokiya’s diet, along with his own food, and put on top of his work desk in hopes it’d stay warm when he came back.
(Cooking wasn’t hard—picking up something Tokiya would eat, and still had enough to be a meal, was. Turns out he didn’t mind curry! Just. Not every day or he’d get annoyed and a little green after three days when he saw Otoya eating it.
He tried to stay up sometimes too, to greet him back and maybe not ask him about work because if it’s a night job is tiring no matter what you do. The fact Tokiya is trying to be an idol while working on the side at night just tugs at his heartstrings because he knows how hard work-studying is.)
The more he gets to live with Tokiya as a roommate; he admires him a little more. From his talent on writing lyrics, to the perfect pitch voice he has, and how every recording session comes with ease to him—he studies; he works, and has a brother to look up to for a goal. The more he knows and admires and respects him the more he gets a little jealous, but that’s fine. Otoya is always up for a Challenge and even if he doesn’t have as much on his plate it’s still something to motivate him to do better each day. He was a Very Big Family to make proud, and a promise to his Mom to keep going.
Tokiya might not think of him as a friend just yet, but the number of people he hangs out with since day one has been growing while trying to get Tokiya to join in. He doesn’t push too much, but neither does Otoya shy away from anything he and everyone else does-- and maybe sometimes it's hopeful thinking, but he knows Tokiya is juuust this side of curious about them. Sometimes he asks questions about his friends, (Tokiya always pulls a face at Nanami’s name and that sort of baffles him. She’s a really sweet person, just like Nat-chan.). Maybe he should introduce him to Masato first…? Either they get along swimmingly or neither talk until one leaves… That is a kind of a funny thought, actually.
Over the small break they have he doesn’t see much of Tokiya for obvious reasons. Otoya still texts him, and sometimes Tokiya texts back.
At one point it had occurred him to buy him something for Christmas, since he and everyone else already exchanged presents before Winter Break came upon them. Sadly Otoya didn’t know his address, so instead he mailed them to the Agency his brother worked at and hoped Hayato was just as a nice person as he seemed on all of those Host Shows and Commercials.
(It kind of worked. Otoya got a bite-sized scolding on sending things at Christmas Eve, and sending things for him through his brother’s workplace; on the other hand, Tokiya thanked him for the scarf and beanie.
Later, he caught Hayato wearing the Beanie while watching TV with the kids. It had been an interview, and on casual wear it would have been impossible to tell who was who if both of them would’ve been up there. If his brother had the beanie, it meant Tokiya used the scarf, right?)
It’s getting close to the end of the school year and their Hang Out group had grown at least three sizes. He honestly hoped all of them made it this year, but he doesn’t know how many people get accepted to pass.
School’s end is getting closer and Tokiya… Seems a little more exhausted by the day. They are almost done though, so hopefully Tokiya is getting ready to resign (because there’s no way he isn’t graduating this year) and move on to maybe work with his brother.
(And if he dares to hope just a little harder. He’d like to work with him on the same Agency, they’d see each other a lot more often.
His goal at the end of the year he’d convince him to hang out with everyone. He just has to try a little harder and maybe get everyone else in operation Befriending Tokiya)