I don't have an explanation or an excuse for this. I thought about it on my way to work. I'm not even sure I had a motive here, because I set out to write something saddish about Shin-chan, but I don't like making him or anyone sad. I really just love cute things and happiness, so...I guess that's my motive.
Also, I don't know enough about Japanese honorifics to inlcude anything other than Shin-chan, because as far as I'm concerned, that's his real name. It's his only name.
I'll be in and out fixing typos that are sure to pop up, don't worry about hurting my feelings pointing out weird or uncomfortable errors. Or normal ones!
Shin-chan is terrible with girls.
It’s not really mean of Takao to think, since it’s true, and also, it works in Takao’s favor.
Takao has pestered Shin-chan for some details as to what he would look for in a girl, and besides some vague characteristics that could be anybody, Takao has gotten nowhere. For the most part, it’s kept him optimistic that one day the thin layer of ice coating Shin-chan’s heart will melt completely and he’ll swoon dramatically into Takao’s arms.
And then they’ll kiss. Or something.
Takao isn’t that optimistic.
The point is, Shin-chan has never really shown an interest in girls—he doesn’t even notice Momoi, who is gorgeous.
Likewise, because of his terrible (though Takao prefers to think of it as adorable) personality, girls never seem to take an interest in Shin-chan.
This yin and yang between Shin-chan not showing interest in girls and girls showing little interest in Shin-chan is perfect for Takao. He flirts effortlessly, happy to soak up all the attention so no girls prey on Shin-chan.
Needless to say, Takao is blown away when not only does someone else find Shin-chan’s sharp edges as endearing at he does, but she has the gall to slip Shin-chan her phone number.
The absolutely worst part is that Shin-chan takes it.
And the balance is broken.
This is what happens:
He and Shin-chan are at a restaurant when a girl from another school recognizes them, and her two friends join in on the sudden conversation.
They’re cute, and friendly, so Takao doesn’t mind inviting them to sit at his and Shin-chan’s booth.
As usual, he keeps the conversation running, even fielding questions directed at Shin-chan.
Inexplicably, at one point, the first girl compliments Takao’s playing style, and Shin-chan says, “He’s a very skilled player.” Then he excuses himself to the restroom and disappears.
This puts Takao alone at a table with three girls, and they suddenly dominate the conversation, as if Takao isn’t really there.
One of the friends, who has been quiet most of the time, addresses Takao, and blushes in a pretty way as she asks, “Does Midorima have a girlfriend?”
“She loves the silent, shy type,” one of the other girls adds slyly.
“He doesn’t,” Takao says. His smile is one hundred percent fake.
“Give him your number,” the other girl says.
The first girl claps her hands. “Draw a little heart on it, too!”
Takao is tempted to tell the girl that Shin-chan isn’t shy—he’s kind of mean, and emotional, even though he pretends not to be, and he cheats at rock-paper-scissors so Takao will have to drive the rickshaw everywhere.
Maybe if he just tells them about the rickshaw, they’ll discourage their friend from trying to get such a weird boyfriend.
Or he could tell them that the big lucky cat statue outside is Shin-chan’s lucky item.
Instead, Shin-chan comes back from the bathroom, face blank. Takao thinks he looks flustered, but doesn’t want to say so in front of the girls.
The girls titter a little.
Takao stands suddenly and, if he’s being honest, a little awkwardly. “I’ve got to use the restroom as well.” He looks over at Shin-chan. “Then we should get going, Shin-chan.”
He walks off without giving anyone a chance to respond. He definitely feels guilty for leaving Shin-chan all alone with those girls, but it’s something he’s just going to have to deal with.
In the restroom, he splashes some water on his face. It doesn’t feel as good as it does after a long practice, or a game. He wants to rewind to when those girls showed up at the table and just say thank you and let them be on their way.
Takao just isn’t ready for the reality that some girls may find Shin-chan appealing. Especially cute ones.
He dries his face carefully and goes back out to the table, but he stops short when he sees two of the girls standing by the entrance of the restaurant and giggling and the third one alone with Shin-chan.
She boldly hands him a small piece of paper, and Takao knows exactly what’s on it, and his stomach absolutely plummets when Shin-chan pushes up his glasses with one hand and slides the phone number into his pocket with the other.
Then the girl runs to join her friends, and they all wave at Takao and Shin-chan.
Just like that, the whole ordeal is over. Except that outside, he hears one of them loudly pointing out the rickshaw in a very negative way.
Takao forces himself to laugh. “Girls sure are excitable, huh, Shin-chan?”
Shin-chan just looks at Takao. “I wouldn’t know,” he replies.
It makes Takao falter just a little, but he grins and rubs the back of his neck a little. “Ready to go? I can drop you off at home.”
“I’ll drive,” Shin-chan answers.
Takao just wants to curl up with him in a bed of roses in the back of rickshaw for the rest of their lives.
“O-okay,” Takao says.
Suddenly, it feels as if nothing is going at all like it usually does. And Takao hates it.
It’s embarrassing, but the combination of a full stomach and the afternoon sun makes Takao fall asleep. He wakes up with a start when the rickshaw stops, and he expects to be outside of his home, but instead, they’re at Shin-chan’s house.
He’s a little upset he missed an opportunity to stare at Shin-chan’s back. “What’s going on?” he asks, still a little foggy.
It’s so warm outside, he just can’t help it.
“Let’s play video games,” Shin-chan says, like he’s a real boy all of the sudden. He never suggests they play games; Takao always has to invite himself first.
Takao jumps out of the cart with a sudden burst of enthusiasm.
Shin-chan, on the other hand, gets off the bike with a stupid amount of grace, and looks directly at Takao with his lovely, mossy green eyes. “Takao,” he says.
Takao’s heart pounds twice against his ribcage. “Mm?”
“Bring my lucky item inside,” he says, and walks away.
“But it’s huge!” Takao cries.
Shin-chan doesn’t even turn around. “I may damage my fingernails,” he says.
If Takao was strong enough, and Shin-chan could handle the physical damage, he would heave the stupid statue right at Shin-chan.
The only kindness—if it can be called that—is that Shin-chan leaves the front door open.
He struggles to toe off his shoes neatly with the giant porcelain cat in his arms, and almost drops it when Shin-chan’s mother calls out a hello from another room.
She pokes her head around the corner and smiles at Takao. “You’re always so sweet—I hope Shintarou isn’t taking advantage of you!”
‘I wish he was,’ Takao thinks desperately, even as his face blooms red.
He shuffles past her with a smile and a quick assurance that he does these things to be helpful, and he hoists the massive cat up to Shin-chan’s bedroom.
Shin-chan is sitting calmly on the floor, having changed into a loose pair of basketball shorts and a t-shirt. ‘Please, please, take advantage of me,’ Takao prays.
“Shin-chan, this thing is too big!” He gasps. “If you’re worried about your hands, get smaller items!” He’s too far past trying to convince Shin-chan to just forego the lucky items all-together. He lowers the stupid thing to the ground in the corner of the room and tries to bend his fingers without them feeling bruised and hurt.
He glares at Shin-chan over his shoulder.
“I have you,” Shin-chan says succinctly. He settles against his bed and looks at Takao expectantly.
“Well,” Takao tries to retort, but that’s where it begins and ends, because he’s still trying to keep his face from going red. “Well—Shin-chan, how come you get to wear casual clothes?” he complains instead.
“My mother washed the clothes you left last time when you showered after practice,” Shin-chan tells him. “I left an outfit right there on the bed.”
There is, indeed, a folded up outfit on the bed behind Shin-chan’s head. Takao stops fighting to keep his face from going red and mutters that he’s going to change.
He goes into the bathroom because he doesn’t want to offend Shin-chan’s delicate nature. He also needs to take a deep breath.
It isn’t until he comes back into Shin-chan’s room and sets his clothes on the bed that he sees it: the small wastebasket is empty except for one small slip of paper with a row of numbers and a small heart drawn on it.
Takao glances over at Shin-chan with wide eyes, but he’s messing around with the game settings. “Are you coming?” he asks irritably, like he knows Takao is looking.
“Impatient,” he teases. “Shin-chan was being so sweet before, inviting me to play video games.”
Shin-chan just clears his throat.
Takao folds down on the floor beside Shin-chan, his heart feeling just a little bit lighter. He wants to ask about the phone number, but he can’t think of the right words.
He scoots over until his shoulder is nudging Shin-chan’s.
Shin-chan’s mother interrupts them once to tell Shin-chan to keep the light on so he doesn’t strain his eyes.
Takao doesn’t even have to tease him about it—in the well-lit room, Shin-chan’s flustered blush is one of his new favorite things about Shin-chan.
He also secretly agrees with Shin-chan’s mother. Shin-chan doesn’t need to go making his vision any worse. But Takao really doesn’t want to be caught giving motherly advice.
They play together in silence for about a half an hour, before Takao finally works up the courage to bring it up. “Shin-chan,” he begins. “Are you going to call that girl who gave you her phone number?”
“No,” is Shin-chan’s response.
“Okay,” Takao says. “But—”
“Takao,” Shin-chan says. His tone cuts Takao short.
They play in silence again. Takao feels weird, like Shin-chan knows more than Takao wants him to. It makes him itch to ask even more questions, but when he looks very obviously over at Shin-chan, Shin-chan just looks straight ahead.
Shin-chan beats him three times in a row. Badly.
Shin-chan sighs at the screen. “Do you want to play some street ball?” he asks.
“What?” Takao asks. First lunch, then video games, and now street ball? “Uh, Shin-chan, I think I may head home,” he says. Maybe Shin-chan is unwell. Maybe the girl giving him her number broke him a little.
Shin-chan just sighs again, like a disappointed child.
Takao wants to tease it out of him, but he’s just confused. “What’s going on, Shin-chan? You’ve been weird since after lunch.”
Shin-chan looks at him incredulously. “I’m not being weird,” Shin-chan says. He points at Takao. “You are.”
As much as he likes Shin-chan, Takao just doesn’t get him sometimes.
His heart stops completely when Shin-chan looks into his eyes and says, “You’re jealous, right?”
“What?” he asks. He laughs nervously. “That’s silly, Shin-chan!” He even goes as far to punch Shin-chan in the shoulder. He feels like he’s coming off as super suspicious, but he can't make himself stop.
It’s totally possible Takao could throw up at any second. He’s going white-hot and feels a little faint. Could Shin-chan know?
“You’re so used to women liking you, it hurt your pride when you saw one was interested in me,” Shin-chan explains.
Takao’s head begins to clear. “Huh?”
“It’s understandable,” he murmurs.
“Understandable?” Takao echoes. He stands up and clenches his fist. Shin-chan looks up at him in surprise. “Understand—Shin-chan, you don’t understand anything!”
“Takao, wait,” Shin-chan says.
Takao doesn’t listen. He doesn’t even grab his clothes from earlier, just storms out in his practice clothing. He knows he’s overreacting, but he can’t believe that Shin-chan just tried to go all tsundere on him and try to, to look out for Takao or something.
Like somehow, between the two of them, Takao is the delicate flower.
It bothers him that Shin-chan came to such an erroneous conclusion. Shin-chan probably thinks Takao just loves to soak up attention, and having one girl prefer Shin-chan upset his fragile ego.
He gets his shoes on as quickly as possible before Shin-can can catch up to him and insist they have a discussion about all of this.
He lets himself out with a hurried good-bye and thank-you to Shin-chan’s mother. Takao’s not rude, after all.
The rickshaw is much lighter without the lucky item or Shin-chan in it. As he pedals away, Takao foolishly wishes Shin-chan were here to make the ride a little more challenging.
He’s the one who freaked out on Shin-chan, though.
It’s not the first time they’ve had their differences. Takao wouldn’t call them fights, per se, but he and Shin-chan aren’t always on the same page.
Right now, though, he feels like they’re in different books.
Takao basically sighs his way home, feeling sorry for himself and wishing that Shin-chan takes a blow to the head that will give him amnesia; but only enough to forget this afternoon.
Once he's home, Takao climbs into his bed and hides under the covers for almost two hours. He feels more idiotic as more time passes. He has to think of a casual way to apologize. Maybe he’ll tell Shin-chan he was right, that Takao is just jealous of Shin-chan suddenly being such a player.
But, he realizes about an hour and a half in, when he wakes between naps, Shin-chan is going to know Takao was upset for an entirely different reason.
He squeezes his eyes shut and hopes he won’t see Shin-chan until Monday, after this weekend gone to hell ends.
“Takao,” his mother shouts, “Midorima is here.”
“Stupid Shin-chan,” Takao mutters, his heart beating fast all of the sudden.
Shin-chan is standing at the front door with a basketball under one arm. He looks grumpy, so he definitely walked over.
Takao’s mother pats him on the head when she passes. “Have fun!” she chirps.
Takao feels his soul leaving his body.
“Let’s play basketball,” Shin-chan says, all serious tone, but Takao sees him hide a smile behind his empty hand.
Takao likes him so much.
“Fine,” he says, as if he doesn’t actually want to spend more time with Shin-chan.
“You’ll drive,” Shin-chan says, and turns away.
Takao just makes a face at his back and agrees weakly. He’s pretty powerless against that back. He pretends to take a minute with his shoes, but he’s really just watching Shin-chan just walk away.
Shin-chan sits in the back of the rickshaw and glares a little at Takao. “Coming, coming,” Takao says.
He knows it makes him a coward, but Takao waits until he’s pedaling to address Shin-chan. “Hey, Shin-chan!” When he hears a faint ‘hmm’, he continues. “I’m sorry I left like that earlier. I was being weird for sure!”
“I’m sure you had a rational reason,” Shin-chan says sweetly. Then he says, “Or one you thought was rational.”
“I already apologized!” Takao shouts.
There’s a sound from the back of the rickshaw he’s only heard a few times before—a laugh. It’s quiet, and it’s carried away by the wind in an instant. But it definitely happened.
Takao’s neck burns when he realizes he’s the one being teased for once.
Shin-chan is teasing him.
“Shin-chan,” Takao pouts, but doesn’t say anything else. He thinks today has been one of the weirdest days ever. He’s fallen asleep a lot, so it’s totally possible he’s dreaming all of this.
Maybe this whole day has been a dream.
“Why are you passing the court?” Shin-chan asks.
‘No,’ Takao thinks, ‘If this were a dream, we would both be in the back of the rickshaw.’
“Sorry, Shin-chan,” he laughs. “I was day-dreaming.” He looks over his shoulder with narrow eyes and a smirk. “Were you nervous? Because you don’t have giant lucky cat here?”
Shin-chan frowns a little and pushes his glasses up with two bandaged fingers. “It was fine.” He looks directly at Takao, then, and says, “Let’s play basketball.”
Takao would never say something impolite about a friend’s family, but he wonders what Shin-chan’s parents did to give him such a poor understanding of the concept of play.
Shin-chan doesn’t do anything for fun. He does things for a reason, or has goals, but he never just does things for fun.
So Takao wonders why he thought this game would be different.
Whatever Shin-chan is doing, it’s not playing.
Playing suggests some kind of fun, or whimsy, maybe even some level of spontaneity. Shin-chan doesn’t like those things.
But Takao loves fun. He loves having fun, and being fun, and playing, and laughing, and having a good time in general.
So while Shin-chan is on a warpath, Takao loves every second. The best moments are when Shin-chan is genuinely surprised. His eyes widen and his mouth drops open a little, and only during these moments does Takao think of sex, sex, sex. He wants to make Shin-chan give that look all of the time.
But he settles for stealing the ball or stopping a shot. Shin-chan dominates him, only letting him score a few points.
After, Shin-chan wipes at his forehead, pushing his bangs to the side. Then he takes off his glasses, which never fails to make Takao’s knees feel weak (but this time it may be the game) and looks at Takao. Well. In his general direction, at least.
Takao is still short of breath, but he can’t stop smiling.
“Do you feel better now?” Shin-chan asks him.
He can’t help it—Takao beams up at Shin-chan, who is his absolute favorite person on the planet. “Did Shin-chan play just to make me feel better?”
There’s a beat of silence, then Shin-chan says, “…Yes.” He slides his glasses back on, focuses his gaze, and then glares a little.
Takao laughs. “Then why did you beat me?”
Shin-chan just makes a face Takao knows well, like Takao just asked an obvious question. “It’s basketball,” he replies. For Shin-chan, it probably is obvious.
“Thank you, Shin-chan!” Takao decides to push the envelope and bow a little.
“That’s not necessary!” Shin-chan snaps.
The sun will probably set soon; Takao hasn’t been keeping track of time today at all, but the day seems to be ending. He takes a deep breath and rakes his bangs back with his fingers. “You were right, today,” he admits. “I was jealous.”
“Yes,” is all Shin-chan says.
They stand there silently. Takao feels like a weight is gone from his shoulders. He thinks he started feeling it the second those girls started talking about Shin-chan at lunchtime. It settled in a very definite way when he saw the girl give Shin-chan her number.
And now it’s gone, just like that. It just took Takao yelling, running out dramatically, napping a lot and crying a little, and playing one-on-one to feel better.
Then Shin-chan says, “But not of me.”
“You were jealous,” Shin-chan says slowly, “but not of me.”
“Shin-chan, wait a second,” Takao pleads, but Shin-chan is already going.
“I thought maybe if your pride was hurt, playing video games would help. I even left the number in the wastebasket where you could see it, but you still asked me about that girl.” He gives Takao a look. “You said I didn’t understand.”
Takao puts up his hands in a placating gesture. “Shin-chan, you’ve got the wrong idea—”
“You’re always flirting!” Shin-chan barks. Takao’s eyes go wide. Shin-chan is breathing hard, and it’s not from the game they just played. “Every time there are girls around, you always flirt! You always talk about how cute they are!”
“Shin-chan,” Takao whispers.
“How was I supposed to understand?” Shin-chan asks him.
“I don’t want you to understand,” Takao says. His heart is at about a million beats per second.
This is without the doubt the closest they’ve ever come to talking about it. And having come this far, like a game, Shin-chan won’t stop now. Probably because he doesn’t understand that games should be fun.
He’s about to know the truth.
Takao has thought of it over and over, of casually touching Shin-chan’s arm, or leg, or side, and saying something flirtatious, or maybe laying together in the sunlight—or moonlight, because Takao isn’t picky, and both seem romantic— with their hands touching.
He’s taken the time to wonder if he could feel the heat of Shin-chan’s skin through the bandages on his fingers.
If Shin-chan would trust those fingers to Takao.
“Takao!” Shin-chan barks again.
Shin-chan’s cheeks are a light pink, and he casts his gaze to the side, despite making Takao look right at him. “I was misunderstanding you,” Shin-chan murmurs. Takao has to lean in close. “But you’ve also been misunderstanding me.”
Takao can’t even dare to hope right now. He’s imagined his confession to Shin-chan a hundred times of more. He’s imagined Shin-chan embarrassed, or shy, or happy, but never, ever, did he imagine Shin-chan might be the one to confess to him.
The lights around the court suddenly come on with a buzz, and Takao feels exposed, all of the sudden.
He grabs Shin-chan’s wrist and pulls him off of the courts. Then he uses his eagle eye just to find the nearest tree—not that he will ever, ever tell Shin-chan this.
He marches over to it, Shin-chan in tow, and when he’s close enough, he more or less pushes Shin-chan up against the bark. He uses one hand on Shin-chan’s chest to hold him in place, not that Shin-chan is struggling.
Takao looks around three times just to make sure they’re completely alone. He looks up at Shin-chan.
Shin-chan looks right back at him.
“Shin-chan likes me?” Takao asks. “Like-likes me?”
When Shin-chan makes the face, the one that says Takao is asking stupid questions, Takao knows.
He balls his hand into a fist, the cotton material of Shin-chan’s shirt bunching easily. He’s not much taller than Takao, but Takao still has to push up on tip-toes to reach Shin-chan. “Tell me, then,” he says, lips just a few scant inches from Shin-chan’s. Takao can feel the other boy’s breath, and if he thought his heart was beating fast before, he’s probably dangerously on the verge of a heart attack.
Shin-chan doesn’t say anything.
He shifts forward just a little until they’re kissing, his eyes clenched shut and his glasses pressing into Takao’s skin. His hands have been hanging loosely at his sides, but now he brings them up, and Takao see them spasm in the corner of his vision before they fall on his hips, and that’s when Takao stops trying to take in every single detail his eagle eye can pick up and closes his eyes.
He can’t stand on tip-toe for long, and his feet already feel kind of sore.
It’s the most flattering moment of his life when he falls flat on his feet and pulls away, only to have Shin-chan crane his neck and follow him down.
Then something happens and suddenly Takao is the one against the tree. The hands on his hips slide up so they’re on either side of his abdomen, holding him in place.
Shin-chan licks at his lips, and Takao opens his mouth hungrily. His hand is still sandwiched between them, but he pulls it out so he can wrap his arms around Shin-chan’s neck.
Shin-chan tastes a little salty and he smells like boy. Takao wants to inhale him. He pulls away, and Shin-chan makes a sound that Takao will never forget. If he is reincarnated, it may be the one memory he takes with him.
He mouths at Shin-chan’s jaw, licking a small strip of the soft, sensitive skin just underneath. Shin-chan is breathing like he’s run a marathon. He’s just tall enough that his thigh is just the right height to push between Takao’s, and he shifts, like he’s trying to find out if Takao is hard.
If he had just asked, Takao would have told Shin-chan he just needs to look at Takao the right way for him to be one hundred percent ready to go.
And Shin-chan gave him the perfect look about two minutes ago, so it’s safe to say Takao’s underwear are slightly damp.
When Takao bites at the lobe of Shin-chan’s ear, Shin-chan lets out another magical sound and pumps his hips forward.
Something hard pokes Takao in the hip, but it’s definitely not a, a—a Shin-chan.
Takao releases Shin-chan’s ear and moves back to look at him. He regrets it immediately, because Shin-chan looks amazing, and it makes Takao’s erection jump twice, hard.
But he has to address this, first.
“Shin-chan,” he gasps. His voice is all croaky and weird. “Is there something in your pocket?”
If the answer is no, Shin-chan has a deformed penis that’s either made of plastic of metal.
Takao is fully prepared to love him regardless.
He isn’t prepared to have Shin-chan bury his face in Takao’s neck. Shin-chan keeps topping his own records for cuteness. This one is off the charts.
He fishes around in his pocket and, head still buried, he holds up the object from his pocket.
It’s a keychain with a tiny lucky cat figurine dangling from it. It’s a much, much smaller version of the one Takao had to lug inside before.
Takao forever regrets that he didn’t at that moment whisper something like, “I’ll be Shin-chan’s lucky item,” or, “Shin-chan, you don’t need lucky items if you have me.”
Instead, his eyes get all teary and his throat feels full of some unnamable thing. He’s so glad Shin-chan is hiding his face, because Takao is almost crying, he’s got an erection, and Shin-chan loves him.
He’s going to try and salvage some kind of dignity, and if Shin-chan sees him crying now—
He keeps his wrists loosely threaded around Shin-chan’s neck and can’t even pretend not to smile when he says, “You had a smaller statue this whole time?”
“It’s not the size that’s the issue,” is the muffled response, an echo of something Takao once said to Shin-chan. Shin-chan remembers things he says. “You weren’t there to carry it for me.”
It’s unexpectedly smooth, and Takao’s legs buckle just enough to remind him Shin-chan’s leg is still there. It’s hard with muscle, and Shin-chan isn’t even clenching. Takao’s body jerks on its own when Shin-chan's leg drags perfectly against his balls.
The only thing that could make this better, he thinks, is the rickshaw.
A thousand images he never let himself think of flash through his mind at once as he grinds his hips forward. His arms tighten around Shin-chan, and Shin-chan pulls a surprise move Takao doesn’t see coming, somehow: he opens his mouth and just barely pushes his teeth to the skin of Takao’s neck. He closes it slowly, teeth dragging lightly at his skin like a bite. But it’s much softer and sweeter than that.
“Shin-chan,” Takao whines, and Shin-chan must hear his meaning perfectly in the high pitch of Takao’s voice, because he finally lifts his perfect face and kisses Takao again.
It’s a huge relief that it’s dark outside; otherwise, Takao may be concerned about being seen and/or reported to the police for some kind of indecent act.
He’s so glad it’s dark, and no one can see, because Shin-chan is being very indecent.
Still, it’s a tree, and Takao wants to lie down on top of Shin-chan and never get up.
Takao is on the verge of telling Shin-chan they should stop when one of Shin-chan’s hand slides down to curl around the back of his thigh and pull Takao forward just as he pushes his leg between Takao’s thighs and thrusts his tongue into Takao’s mouth, and Takao feels his orgasm about to happen right before it does. He lets out a series of short gasps and his body takes control, hips snapping back and forth until he just comes and comes.
It shocks him more than any orgasm ever has, and not just because it’s his first one with another person.
“Shin—Shin—” Takao breathes against Shin-chan’s sudden closed-mouth kisses. He grabs at Shin-chan’s shirt and tugs. He’s shivering a little.
Takao has never had so much fun in all his life.
“You too,” he says. He pulls back and looks at Shin-chan. “You do it, too, Shin-chan.” He very bravely takes one hand and moves it to the front of Shin-chan’s basketball shorts, but when he presses his palm in, there’s nothing but dampness.
“Ah,” Shin-chan says. “Um.”
Shin-chan’s real power is his ability to make Takao question the limits of his love. Every time he thinks he knows the boy in his arms completely, and is ready to love him unconditionally, Shin-chan reveals another part of himself.
Takao is going to devote his entire life to knowing every single part of Shin-chan, even the new ones he adds over time. Takao wants everything.
They stand there under the tree holding on to each other. Takao’s heart is finally starting to slow back down to normal.
He smiles up at Shin-chan. “I can’t wait to try that naked,” he says, just to watch Shin-chan go red. “Let’s do it every day for the rest of our lives.”
“Nothing that will interfere with our game schedule,” Shin-chan chides.
Takao can’t find the breath to tell Shin-chan he was joking. Mostly. He crushes Shin-chan to him in a sudden and unsolicited hug. His face pushes awkwardly into Shin-chan’s shoulder, and he has to tilt his face to the side so he can say, “Shin-chan, I’m glad we understand each other now.”
“…Yes,” Shin-chan agrees.
Takao can hear everything his sweet, precious Shin-chan isn’t saying. He only has one concern, and it’s barely enough to register on his radar.
“Who’s going to drive home? It’s going to be gross to ride with pants like this.” Takao groans. “This is why people only do it outdoors in movies!”
“We’ll rock-paper-scissors for it,” Shin-chan suggests. Then he proceeds to one hundred percent cheat.
Shin-chan radiates smugness the whole way home.
Takao pedals slower and slower as they get closer to Shin-chan’s house. He doesn’t want tonight to end. When he leaves Shin-chan, he’ll be alone with his mind and all of his insecurities. It’s enough to overshadow the immense discomfort of wearing sticky, smelly shorts.
The day has lasted for what feels like forever, but now it’s flying by right when Takao wants to hold onto it forever.
He thinks about just blowing past Shin-chan’s house under the guise of an accident, but he doesn’t want Shin-chan to get in trouble with his parents.
So he slows down to a stop, instead, and just stands there and straddles the bike as Shin-chan climbs out of the back.
Shin-chan touches his elbow in a way Takao interprets as loving. It’s pretty open on the street, even in the dark, and while two people could get away with kissing the dark, the rickshaw is a pretty dead giveaway.
“Shin-chan,” Takao says, quiet now that it feels so public all of the sudden. “Let’s do something tomorrow.”
Shin-chan runs his bandaged fingers down Takao’s arm. Takao has an awful feeling he’s going to masturbate a lot before he sees Shin-chan again. Shin-chan’s thigh may haunt his dreams forever.
“Takao,” Shin-chan says. Takao can’t make out his face in the dark. His glasses look like they’re glowing a little. His outline moves in closer, until his breath puffs against Takao’s ear. “Thank you for the ride.”
Then he turns around and stomps inside, completely unaware he’s just killed Takao.
It’s a mystery how he makes it home and into his room, into a fresh pair of pajamas and under his sheets. He’s half asleep the second he lies down, but a beep from his phone makes him start. It’s followed by a second beep.
There are two messages from Shin-chan.
The first one says: Takao, I like you.
The second one says: So there aren’t any misunderstandings.
He sends a single text back: Let's not misunderstand each other any more. <3
He falls asleep with his phone cradled to his heart. His last coherent thought is of that stupid girl who gave Shin-chan her number. If Takao ever sees her again, he may thank her, but then he’ll immediately stab her with a fork or throw sand in her eyes. He’ll make sure to have a fork and/or a bag of sand on hand in the future.
He just doesn’t need anyone else out there who realizes what a magical, rare, magnificent unicorn Shin-chan is.
That magical, rare, magnificent unicorn is his.