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How (Not) To Share A Bathroom

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Day 1

Tooru gets back to his dorm later than he intended—it’s only his first day on campus, but he got caught up with his new teammates, the locals who insisted on taking him out for dessert after a marathon first practice. He feels a little bad, because he promised his mum he’d go to bed early every night and keep up good habits. But, well—good habits can start tomorrow.

He’s sort of exhausted after meeting his new teammates. They’ve got a lot of energy, and a lot of drive. And, with time, Tooru thinks he could probably play well alongside them—it doesn’t matter how many times Iwa told him, “you’ll be fine, you bring out the best in whichever team you play with,” because Tooru was still going to be nervous about transplanting his skills into a different city. He’s clicked with one guy, though—Kuroo, who’s followed him back to his dorm.

“Don’t you have somewhere else to be?” Tooru asks.

“Not really,” Kuroo says, shrugging. “My dorm’s only a block away. I can be back whenever.”

Tooru side-eyes him as he unlocks his door. He’s not sure what to think about the fact that his friends for the next few years might be determined entirely by one afternoon of volleyball.

“Oh, hey, have you met your neighbour yet?” Kuroo says, peering at the door next to Tooru’s.

“No,” Tooru says. “I left a note on the mirror for him indicating how our bathroom space is going to be divided.”

Kuroo laughs. “It’s shared bathrooms? I’m sure your neighbour will be grateful you’re setting such, uh, strict ground rules.”

“Don’t be mean,” Tooru says, opening the door and letting Kuroo in ahead of him. “A tidy bathroom is a… a happy heart, or something. My neighbour will understand.”

“Right,” Kuroo says. “And you think leaving a note on the mirror is the best way to go about that?”

“It’ll be fine,” Tooru says. To prove his point, he unlocks the bathroom door, and—it’s changed since Tooru left for lunch and volleyball.

There’s bottle after bottle of hair product and a shaving kit almost identical to Tooru’s on the wide shelf above the sink, but only occupying half of it. Tooru’s neighbour has made sure there's a clear line down the middle, and the only thing on Tooru’s side is a post-it note.

“Oh my god,” he says, almost thinking aloud.

Kuroo’s voice comes back from the bedroom. “What?”

“He left a reply,” Tooru says, picking up the note and squinting at it as he walks back into his bedroom.

“And?” Kuroo prompts.

Hello! Thanks for your note,” Tooru reads. “I’m glad we got off on the right foot—is he being sarcastic?”

“Anything else?” Kuroo asks.

“He says, I’ve made sure to keep my things on my side of the bathroom. While we’re making rules, please don’t stick anything else to the mirror, in case it damages the glass. Thank you!

By the time Tooru’s finished reading, Kuroo’s in stitches. “Looks like you’ve got a fight on your hands, Oikawa.”

“I’m willing to fight,” Tooru says. “I’ve probably got twice as many bottles of product as this guy. I can definitely win.”

“Did you even look at his nameplate?” Kuroo asks.

Tooru shrugs. “I’ll look eventually.”

“Okay,” Kuroo says, but he doesn't sound convinced.

Kuroo doesn’t stay for much longer after that. He makes his excuses, heads back to his dorm, and leaves Tooru to contemplate his situation. He hasn’t properly unpacked yet, and his neighbour’s note leaves him with two choices: he could just play by his own rules and put his haircare and shaving things on the clear half of the shelf, or he could respond to the slightly teasing tone of the post-it note he’s still holding.

In the end, it’s an easy decision.

First is his hair gel, then his shampoo and conditioner. He barely manages to fit his shaving kit once he’s stacked all his different aftershaves, and his toothpaste and brush are practically hanging off the edge.

The final touch is a post-it note, left on his neighbour’s side of the shelf. Tooru makes sure to fill up every bit of the note with an essay about the trials of cohabitation and how he intends to overcome them, and then he shifts all of his neighbour’s things a centimetre to the right and moves his own things into the vacated space. He’ll do another centimetre tomorrow, and another the day after that, and see how long it takes for his neighbour to catch on.

If anything—it could be fun.

 


 

Day 15

There’s a power outage in the gym, so volleyball finishes early. Tooru hangs back for a little bit with Kuroo, Bokuto and Komi, who are always hungry after practice, and invariably spend at least ten minutes deliberating on the day’s snack. Tooru hasn’t really been paying attention to their conversation—he rarely does when Bokuto and Komi are around, since they’re old friends, with each other and with Kuroo, and Tooru’s just an interloper. It doesn’t help that they’ve taken to making fun of his Tohoku accent.

“Oh!” Bokuto says, just as Tooru tunes back in. “And, that guy in the education lectures—Komi, you’ve seen him too, right?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Komi says, “I remember him from Nationals. He keeps giving us dirty looks.”

“I think he’s following us,” Bokuto says. “He’s probably jealous he didn’t get scouted onto the team like we did.”

“How would he even know you’re on the team?” Kuroo asks.

“He’s probably been outside the gym this entire time,” Bokuto says, and they all laugh at that.

Tooru sees this as his opportunity to contribute. “There’s someone I recognise from high school volleyball in half my lectures,” he says.

“Oh yeah?” Kuroo asks. “Do you think he’s stalking you too?”

Bokuto jabs Kuroo in the ribs. “I didn’t say stalking—”

“I don’t think he’s noticed me,” Tooru says. “But it frustrates me just to see him.”

“How come?” Kuroo asks.

It’s frustrating because he’s Karasuno’s pinch setter, and what right does he have to be in Tokyo, presumably studying some sort of science, and throwing himself in Tooru’s path as a constant reminder of his failure at Spring High?

At the time, losing to Karasuno didn’t mean as much, because Tooru was certain he’d be scouted anyway, and that he’d rise to even greater heights. Moving to Tokyo had been part of that plan. Of course, he’d known he would get homesick—and it’s even worse every time Iwa sends him photos when he’s hanging out with Makki and Mattsun—but leaving home had also meant forgetting about Karasuno and Shiratorizawa and every single person who’d ever stood in his way.

Having someone from Karasuno so nearby was not part of the plan.

“Just is,” Tooru says. He’s sort of aware he’s becoming petulant, and that he’s not projecting the image he wanted his teammates to see.

“Don’t fixate on him,” Kuroo says. “I mean, do you even know his name?”

“That’s not the point,” Tooru says, “it’s—”

“Hey, hey, Oikawa,” Bokuto interrupts, holding out his snack from the vending machine. “Relax! Have some chocolate.”

“I’m going back to my dorm,” Tooru says. “I need an early night.”

He doesn’t wait around to hear anyone try to comfort him—and more than anything, he’s annoyed at himself for letting his image slip, for getting into a mood around people he’s just met. He’ll get back to his dorm and have a long shower and pretend he’s doing alright.

There’s something else, though, to cheer him up—a note on the sink from Sugawara Koushi in the dorm next door. Their correspondence has been ongoing ever since Tooru started messing around with the shelf, and Koushi responded in kind. Tooru’s even started thinking of Koushi as a friend, even though they’ve never met, and it’s clear that they keep wildly different hours.

This note reads: Since we use the same brand, Tooru-kun, that foam could have been from either of us. However, I’m willing to give you the benefit of doubt and have cleaned it away. Next time, I hope you will consider doing your bit to keep our bathroom just as tidy as you want it to be! :)

Tooru laughs out loud, and then slaps a hand over his mouth, still grinning, when he hears a chair creaking in the other room. This is the first time, he’s sure of it, that he and Koushi have been awake and in their dorms at the same time. Tooru could just knock on the door and find out who he’s been talking to—but, somehow, that’d take away from the mystery.

He knows Koushi can hear, though, he brings his post-its and a pen into the bathroom and writes deliberately and loudly. And when he gets ready to shower, he make sure to run the water twice as heavily as he usually does so that Koushi can hear.

It’s fine for a bit, but after a few minutes he can hear Koushi talking on the phone. Tooru relishes his long showers, but he has the greatest urge to switch the water off entirely and press his ear to the door to eavesdrop. He wants to know what kind of voice Koushi has, even if he’s not quite ready to break the spell of anonymity yet. And then, Koushi laughs, and Tooru could swear he’d just heard a chorus of angels.

That’s also when it hits him that it’s maybe a bit weird for him to be feeling like his heart is about to explode while he’s in the shower, so he hastily turns off the taps and dries himself off.

It sounds like Koushi’s not on the phone anymore, though. Tooru is weirdly disappointed. Maybe that’s something he’ll have to think about eventually. Maybe he’ll have to think about why his heart is beating twice as fast as normal. Eventually.

 


 

Day 32

Tooru isn’t making a good impression for the first real social event of the year. It’s just some party at one of Kuroo’s friend’s houses, but it’s the most people Tooru’s had to put on a good front for since his first biology lab—and he’s running late.

He’s dressed up nicely, though, and the plan is to act like nothing’s wrong and flawlessly pull off the “fashionably late” look.

There are no dramatic entrances at this party, though. Everyone’s chatting to someone else when Tooru walks through the front door, and no-one spares a glance for him. He could probably just pretend he’s been here the entire time. He frowns at himself, accidentally catching someone’s eye and switching hastily to a smile.

At least Kuroo is tall—Tooru can spot him and his ludicrous hair from the other side of the room. He makes his way through the crowd and gets close enough to call out, but just as he’s about to, he notices who Kuroo’s talking to. There’s a short guy with him, and with them there’s Karasuno’s pinch setter, the absolute bane of Tooru’s life, even though they still haven’t encountered each other beyond Tooru glaring at him from the other side of a lecture theatre.

Abandoning any hope of talking to Kuroo at all, Tooru turns on the spot and marches back to the front door—and he’s stopped by Bokuto.

“Oikawa! I didn’t know you were coming!”

Tooru feels all his will draining from him. Bokuto has enough social vibrancy for ten people. “Actually, I was just leaving,” Tooru says.

“How come?” Bokuto asks.

“Ugh,” Tooru says, glancing back. “That guy—remember how I mentioned someone in my lectures who I recognised from volleyball?”

“Oh, yeah,” Bokuto says, “I remember. He’s here?”

“Yeah, and apparently Kuroo knows him,” Tooru says, “although I don’t know how.”

Bokuto’s eyebrows shoot up. “Oh, you mean—”

“Hey, what’s going on here?” Kuroo interrupts, slinging an arm each over Tooru and Bokuto’s shoulders.

“Oikawa’s hiding,” Bokuto chirps, and Tooru scowls at him.

“Oh, right,” Kuroo says, “I think I understand a few things now. Just a second, Bokuto—”

Without much ceremony, Kuroo yanks Tooru by the wrist and away from the throng, leading him out into the house’s garden.

“Dude,” Kuroo says, “you should have mentioned the guy you were worried about went to Karasuno.”

“How do you know him?” Tooru asks, trying not to sound too hysterical.

“They’re like, old rivals with Nekoma,” Kuroo explains. “They came to the Fukurodani Group training camp last year. Look, you need to try to forget about it. Just because they beat you at Spring High, doesn’t mean that one player from the team is personally out to get you.”

Tooru rolls his eyes. “I know that. It’s just—it’s uncomfortable, you know?”

He feels stupid admitting to it, but Kuroo at least gives him a sympathetic smile. “Hey, what happened with the post-its in your bathroom?” he asks suddenly.

“Why’re you bringing that up now, huh?” Tooru asks.

“I just remembered it,” Kuroo says, smirking a bit. “Are you two still writing back and forth?”

“Yeah,” Tooru says, relaxing a bit. “It’s competitive, but he’s also—ugh, how do I say ‘sweet’ without it sounding weird?”

“It’s already plenty weird,” Kuroo says. “Go on. Power through it.”

“He’s sweet,” Tooru says, exhaling. “I might like him.”

“Just ‘might?’” Kuroo asks, prodding Tooru in the arm.

“Don’t push me,” Tooru says, giving Kuroo a fake glare.

“In your own time,” Kuroo says.

Tooru takes a deep breath. “Well, even though we only really talk about the state of our bathroom, there’s something… something about his tone, you know? It’s kind of endearing.”

“You’ve got it bad,” Kuroo says. “Seriously, I’m no doctor, but these look like all the symptoms of a crush.”

“Why do I even tell you things,” Tooru says.

Kuroo shrugs. “Because I’m the best friend you’ve got in Tokyo?”

“You’re right!” Tooru says, straightening himself out. “Why haven’t I told Iwa-chan yet?”

He makes his apologies to Kuroo and dashes out of the party before anyone can see him, and as soon as he’s out the door he gets out his phone and dials Iwa. It’s not a long walk back to uni, but it’ll give him enough time to say what he has to say.

“Iwa-chan!”

“Hold on,” Iwa says grumpily, and then, as though he’s talking to someone else, adds, “I’ll be back in a minute.”

There’s a pause, and Tooru hears what he thinks must be Iwa propping a door open with something.

“Okay,” Iwa says, “let’s talk.”

“Who’re you with, Iwa-chan?” Tooru asks. “Did I interrupt something intimate?”

Iwa sighs. “I’m just hanging out with Sawamura.”

Tooru pulls a face at the quiet street. “Why are you busy being all buddy-buddy with someone from Karasuno while I’m being haunted by one of them?”

“Huh?” Iwa says. “Haunted?”

“Never mind that,” Tooru says. “I just called to tell you that something momentous has happened.”

“What, you finally grew out of your ego?”

“Very funny,” Tooru says. “You should be a comedian, Iwa-chan.”

“Well, what is it?” Iwa asks.

“I,” Tooru announces, “have a crush.”

On the other end of the line, his proclamation is met with loud laughter. “Oh my god,” Iwa gasps, “you called to tell me that?”

“I couldn’t hold it in,” Tooru says. “Plus, I felt bad for accidentally telling Kuroo first. You should feel privileged that, as my best friend, I choose to entrust you with this sensitive information.”

“Okay,” Iwa says slowly. “Okay, so, tell me about them.”

“Well,” Tooru says, drawing the word out to mimic Iwa’s confused tone, “we haven’t exactly ‘met,’ in the traditional sense. You remember how I told you about the bathroom shelf war with my neighbour, and the post-it notes?”

“Oh my god,” Iwa says again.

Tooru grins. “Yeah. I think I like him. No, no, I don’t think so! I do like him! Anyway, his name is Sugawara Koushi and even though I don’t know what he looks like because we’re never in our dorms at the same time, he has a laugh like an angel, Iwa-chan, so he must be beautiful.”

“Slow down,” Iwa says, “and rewind a few seconds. What did you say his name is?”

“Sugawara Koushi,” Tooru says.

“Shit,” Iwa says, his tone switched to something strange and urgent. “Fuck. I have to go.”

“Already?” Tooru asks.

“Yeah,” Iwa says. “Holy shit, Oikawa. I’ll—I’ll talk to you later, okay?”

“If you insist,” Tooru says, but Iwa’s already hung up.

He mopes all the way back to his college and plods up the stairs to his dorm. On the way up, he passes someone talking on the phone—the guy’s distracted and doesn’t spare Tooru a glance, but Tooru could swear it’s the short guy he saw with Kuroo and Karasuno’s pinch setter at the party earlier.

When he gets into his dorm, he makes a beeline for the bathroom. There’s quiet chatter from the other room, but nothing Tooru can make out. If Koushi has a friend over, maybe now’s not the time for Tooru to knock on the adjoining door and confess his undying love.

To tide Tooru over, there’s a note pinned to the shower door: I don’t mind if you put notes here! It may be a bit hard in the mornings, though, with all the condensation. As for your shampoo problem, I’d suggest that maybe you’re just using more than usual—although maybe more of it’s going on the floor than your hair, since it’s always so slippery in here.

Tooru is so, so smitten. It’s ridiculous how Koushi can just be writing about showers and shampoo, but Tooru still feels his heart leap. He puts the note in the bin with all the others, but not after taking a few minutes to admire the clean lines of Koushi’s handwriting.

He doesn’t sleep that night.

 


 

Day 49

Tooru closes the bathroom door and heads straight for his bed, flopping down face-first. He can’t pinpoint how he feels—in fact, he’s remarkably numb, except for the spot on his arm where Koushi pinched him. It’s like his entire life has been leading up to this moment, the moment that was supposed to be a startling and dramatic reveal, where he comes face-to-face with his neighbour for the first time. Instead, he found Karasuno’s pinch setter half-asleep outside his door, barely coherent as he asked for Tooru to unlock the bathroom door.

In Koushi’s defence, he looked just as shocked as Tooru felt. There was no way for him to have known who he was sharing a bathroom with—and Tooru really regrets not putting his surname on his nameplate—and there was no way he’d even know that Tooru was in Tokyo in the first place, no way he’d make the connection between the name and the person he knew. Not that they even knew each other, not properly.

The only way he could have known would be if their mutual “friend” Kuroo—who, effective immediately, is in Tooru’s bad books—had told him, and obviously he’d decided to let them work it out for themselves. Iwa isn’t free from the bad books either, because he definitely knew the moment Tooru gave him Koushi’s name over the phone, and did nothing. In the end, it’s all down to Tooru to make sense of this.

“What do I do?” Tooru mumbles into his pillow.

He can hear the shower running in the bathroom, and a part of him almost wants to run while Koushi’s otherwise occupied, to grab his keys and sprint to the front desk and request a room change. But he’d be a real coward if he did that. He takes the slightly-less-cowardly option and stays collapsed on his bed until he hears the shower stop running. Then, he forces himself to get up, and knocks on the bathroom door.

“Can I come in?”

There’s a sigh from the other side of the door. “Give me a second,” Koushi says.

Tooru leans against the door until he hears it unlock. He’s not prepared to open it and see Koushi standing there with his hair sticking out like he’s just towel-dried it—he’s attractive, and Tooru wants to close the door in his face.

“I’m awake now,” Koushi says. “Did you… want to talk about it?”

“No,” Tooru says. “I mean—”

“I understand,” Koushi says. “I’m shocked too. I honestly never expected to find you here, of all places. And, um, I never really expected that—”

“That… ?” Tooru prompts.

Koushi takes a deep breath. “You said a lot of stuff about me while we were in the corridor, and I know—even though you don’t really know me, and I don’t really know you—I never expected you to—I can’t say this, it’s too—”

“To feel the same way?” Tooru guesses, almost hopefully. He doesn’t know how he expects Koushi to respond, but he certainly doesn’t expect to be jabbed in the ribs.

“Yeah,” Koushi says, smiling a bit, “something like that. I mean, it’s not unexpected, right? We were sort of flirting.”

“More than ‘sort of,’” Tooru says.

“Yeah,” Koushi says, “yeah! That’s right.”

He’s working so hard to reassure himself, and Tooru feels bad for not doing anything reassuring—although given that he’s also having an internal meltdown, he’s not quite sure what he could do. He opens his mouth, a hollow platitude on the tip of his tongue.

What he ends up saying, though, is, “Go out with me!”

Koushi’s eyes go wide. “Excuse me!” he says. “I’m not sure you meant to say that…”

At the time, Tooru didn’t mean to say it, but now that it’s left his mouth, he can’t bring himself to have any regrets. “Yes, I did,” he says, steeling himself to say something embarrassing. “For the last few weeks, we’ve been getting to know each other, even if we didn’t ‘meet’ in the traditional sense. And… I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you. So, if you want to—”

“Yes!” Koushi says. “I have class at—at eight, whenever that is—but we can get breakfast together after that, if you haven’t already eaten.”

“Ah,” Tooru says, “are you asking me out on a date?”

Koushi blinks. “I suppose I am.”

“Let me at least brush my teeth first,” Tooru says, winking, “just in case you want to kiss me.”

“Me too, then,” Koushi says, backing towards the sink and grabbing his toothpaste.

Tooru joins him and they stand next to each other as they brush their teeth. It’s almost uncomfortably domestic, but they keep catching each other’s eyes and then looking away, and Tooru’s heart feels like it’s going to burst.

“Ah,” Koushi says, “I meant to ask—did you really think I wouldn’t notice you moving all my things on the shelf?”

“I hoped you would,” Tooru says. “That’s half of the fun!”

Koushi hums and, perching his toothbrush between his lips, he reaches over to the shelf and grabs a bottle of Tooru’s hand cream from the left of the line down the middle, and a bottle of his own hair gel from the right, and he switches them.

“There,” he says, taking the toothbrush out of his mouth, “that’s much better.”

Tooru spits and washes off his toothbrush. “Sort of symbolic, huh?”

“Absolutely,” Koushi says. “Now, you’re stuck with me.”

Tooru looks away quickly, a blush rising on his face. “Well,” he says, “that’s just—”

“Oh my god,” Koushi says, “you’re not scary at all.”

“You’re not so bad yourself,” Tooru says, still not looking at Koushi.

Their elbows bump together as they put their things away, and Tooru can’t stop grinning. The worst part is that he knows Koushi can see him in the mirror—the best part is that he can see Koushi, and Koushi is blushing and grinning too.

No—the best part is Koushi winding their fingers together and kissing Tooru on the cheek before disappearing back into his dorm.

Actually, no—the best part probably hasn’t happened yet.

 


 

Day 57

The sun’s gone down by the time they get back to their dorms. When no-one’s looking, Tooru holds Koushi’s hand—luckily, this is most of the walk back.

“I guess this is it,” Tooru says, stopping in front of his door. “This is where we part ways.”

“Ah, and after such a nice night,” Koushi says, pulling his lanyard out of his pocket. “It’s such a pity.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow, though,” Tooru says.

“It’s such a long time,” Koushi says, “that I don’t think I’ll be able to cope!”

“Somehow you’ll have to,” Tooru says. “I know it’s hard, but try—try for my sake, Koushi.”

“Okay,” Koushi says, clutching his chest. “Okay, I can do this. Goodnight, Tooru.”

“Goodnight, Koushi,” Tooru says. “Farewell.”

He unlocks his door and lets himself in to his dorm. It’s not the kind of place he can think of as a second home yet, but it’s getting closer. Dumping his bag, he heads straight for the bathroom, waiting until he hears the door opening on the other side—he and Koushi open the doors at the same time, and Koushi’s hands fly to his face in affected shock.

“Tooru! It can’t really be you, can it?”

“It feels like we’re a lifetime apart,” Tooru says, pressing a hand to his forehead. “And yet, so close!”

Koushi breaks character first, doubled over laughing. “God, you’re melodramatic,” he says.

“I call it acting,” Tooru says, putting his hands on his hips.

They meet in the middle, in front of the sink, and Koushi picks up their identical bottles of shaving foam and swaps them from one side to the other.

“Joke’s on you,” Tooru says, “I’ve been using yours for the last three days.”

Koushi lets out another laugh. “I’ve been using yours.”

Tooru links their hands together. “Remember what I said about bathroom cohabitation?”

“You said it’s the key to a healthy relationship, or something,” Koushi says.

“Right,” Tooru says. “I think I just made that up on the spot.”

Koushi has to stand on his toes to kiss Tooru—which, as far as Tooru’s concerned, is adorable—but he bends down a bit anyway so that they meet in the middle. Most of their kisses have been in the bathroom. Somehow, it’s where they’re most comfortable. Tonight, Tooru wants to break that pattern.

“Your room or mine?” he asks, his mouth still hovering against Koushi’s.

“So forward,” Koushi says, and Tooru can feel his lips move into a smile. Tooru can’t help but smile with him.

“Not like that,” Tooru says. “I know I said we’d call Iwa-chan and Sawamura-kun, but don’t you think that can wait until tomorrow?”

“I think so,” Koushi says. “Okay, my room, then.”

Where Tooru’s room is a bit minimalist, Koushi’s room feels like it’s been lived in for years, not just weeks. Koushi closes the bathroom door behind him and jumps onto his bed, rolling to the side to make room for Tooru to lie beside him.

Tooru closes his eyes, and when he opens them he can hardly believe that Koushi is still there, and that he’s been so incredibly lucky. Their legs slot together neatly, with Koushi’s knees just a bit higher than Tooru’s.

“Hey,” Tooru says. “I like you.”

“I like you too,” Koushi says. “Let’s fall asleep like this.”

“I can think of a few things we can do before falling asleep,” Tooru says, and then, “Did I say that aloud?”

“Well,” Koushi says, his eyes turning downwards, “we were both thinking it.”

Eventually, they do fall asleep together—not for another hour, though. And Tooru wakes up early the next morning, even without an alarm, with his arms still wrapped around Koushi, and all he can think is, wow.

He gets up quietly, but Koushi stirs a bit, eyes half open and smiling softly.

“I’m just going for a run,” Tooru whispers. “I’ll be back in a bit.”

Before he goes, he ducks into his dorm for a post-it note and a pen, and leaves a message for Koushi on the bathroom shelf. Then he swaps their shaving foam bottles again, just for fun.

And when he gets back from his run, Koushi’s left for class, but there’s a note in reply stuck to the shower door. This one, Tooru doesn’t throw out.