Learning to Fly Again (The With A Little Faith Remix)
“Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall.”
Touya Akira is seventeen years old; nearly an adult, and yet not, stuck in between not quite old enough and not quite that young. In practice, though, he has been an adult for as long as he can remember, long since shedding the wings of childhood in exchange for the responsibility of an adult.
The only time he feels like a child is when he is with one Shindou Hikaru, master of surprise and never quite serious about anything other than Go. Sometimes he’s not even serious about that.
In all his years knowing Shindou Hikaru, he’s never really figured out quite what to make of this.
Today is no different, sitting across from his rival in his father’s Go salon, melting into the chair in the face of the unrelenting heat wave that has been plaguing Tokyo for three days with no sign of stopping. He feels much too sluggish to argue with Shindou over the positively brilliant, stupid, risky move he’d played twenty hands ago that had firmly turned the tide of the game in his favor, and instead just resigns, dipping his head and feeling sweat roll down his neck to further dampen the collar of his shirt.
Shindou must feel the same, because he leans his head back and uselessly tries to wipe at his damp forehead with his equally damp forearm. They sit there for a moment before clearing the stones off the board, and Touya wonders if either of them have the fortitude to play another game in the force of this unyielding heat. Before he can ask, though, Shindou says, “Touya.”
“Hmm?” he says, too out of it to even manage a proper response.
“We should get out of here.”
“Huh?” Touya replies coherently.
“It’s too hot for this. We should go somewhere and cool off.” He runs his hands through his wet bangs, holding out his dripping hand for emphasis.
“Gross, Shindou,” Touya says, but he has to admit the idea has merit, except that he has no idea what one does to cool off outside of taking a cold shower. He’s pretty sure that’s not what Shindou is suggesting, but he asks just in case, “What did you have in mind?”
“The park. We should totally go to the park.”
“What are we, five?” Touya responds. “Besides, how is that going to help us cool off?”
Shindou rolls his eyes, the heat not able to completely drain the overwhelming vibrance that is pure Shindou. “You ask too many questions. Just, have a little faith?”
Touya’s not sure where Shindou is going with this, but his heat-stroked brain can’t find the words to protest and he nods ever so slightly. “Alright then.”
They walk past three parks before Touya finally says, “Do you have a grudge against parks in Shinjuku or something?”
“Nope. They just don’t have what I’m looking for,” Shindou replies cryptically, and Touya has no choice but to follow him, otherwise he’ll have wasted the last half-hour, and Touya thinks that would be deeply unfortunate.
Fifteen minutes later, Touya is seriously reconsidering exactly how unfortunate it would be to turn back now when Shindou breathes a little ‘Aha!’ and steers them into a park that Touya didn’t even know existed before today. It’s mostly empty, probably due to how it was nearly hidden behind large plants, leaves that look like large fans brushing against them as they go.
Touya feels like he’s stumbled into Narnia or something; the streets are no longer visible from inside the park, and though it is the dead of summer, the plant life is flourishing, streaks of pinks and yellows and purples splashed all around the dirt path. Butterflies and dragonflies flit about, coming together only to part again, flying onwards with them as they move toward the middle of the park.
He hears it before he sees it – the sound of water splashing against the ground in sharp, irregular patterns. They follow the bend in the path and then it’s right there in front of them; a huge fountain spraying water up in the air, only to have it come down in cascades to beat against the only pavement he’s seen so far, the waters rolling back through the gate that blocked the main spray, only to begin the cycle again.
Shindou’s face lights up and before Touya realizes his intentions, he’s stripping off his shirt and tossing it to the side, running towards the spray, turning and motioning for Touya to join him. “Come on, Touya, this is going to feel great!”
Touya just stares at him wide-eyed as Shindou runs and jumps under the spray, laughing like a child. “Are you insane?”
“Come on, Touya, what are you afraid of?” Shindou grins, cupping his hands to gather water and tries to splash Touya.
“We’re in our clothes!” Touya protests, taking a hesitant step back.
Shindou just laughs, reaching his hands out towards Touya. “Come on, a little water never hurt anyone.”
“Yes, but it’s absolutely murder on silk,” Touya retorts, but he can feel the smile tugging at the corner of his mouth, and he pulls off his tie and his shoes and socks, rolling his eyes fondly as he inches towards the water.
Shindou shakes his head. “Inching in, Touya? You’re taking all the fun out of it.”
And then Shindou’s wrapping a soaked arm around him and pulling him under the bulk of the spray, and Touya gasps for breath as the blissfully cold water runs over his much too hot skin, rinsing away the sweat and leaving a lingering cool feeling in its wake.
Touya can’t decide if he should be glaring at Shindou for dragging him under or thanking him for his obviously superior taste in ways to cool off, so instead of doing either, he laughs, light and free and lost in the moment. He can almost feel the wings of youth spread out from his back as he learns to fly again with wings he’d thought he’d abandoned long ago.
With Shindou calling out to him, all he needed to fly was a little faith.