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New Year's Resolutions

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“Do you have any plans for next year?” Plans that involved the two of them. Plans that Daichi wanted to be a part of, even for a little bit.

Their homes were hectic around this time of the year. Every room was packed with relatives that drove from far off places just to be together as a family for the holidays. It was a nice sight in moderation, which was why the two of them decided to take a small stroll through Shibuya park and discuss their plans for the upcoming year. The chill winter wind swept dry snow off the ground and whipped it into the air. The snowflakes practically sparkled underneath the orange-tinted lights that lit their path.

“I want to travel.” Daichi remembered suggesting a similar activity when he first got his license, and a small smile tugged at his lips. There was something he wanted to ask, but he hesitated.
“By plane? Boat? Where do you wanna go, man?” When he put it like this, he felt bad for not having the courage to just come out and say it. Hibiki kicked some snow off the ground as he walked by, white boots leaving deep prints behind them.
“Hmm… I didn’t really give it much thought. I guess I just want to leave Tokyo for a while.”
“Um… you know…” Daichi mumbled, and pulled his scarf up over his face. He had a habit of starting his sentences, but leaving them unfinished. “No, forget it I… It’s nothing.”
“You can tell me.” Hibiki nudged him and grinned in that familiar yet comforting way that always made Daichi lay his feelings bare. He smiled, and turned his head to stare off to the side.
“Haha… welp, here goes,” He breathed in and sighed before pressing his lips into a thin line. One more deep breath did the trick.
“You… um, you could always come with me.” Hibiki somehow managed to dodge the question.

“You want to travel together?”
“Well, I have a car, a license, and… um, other stuff?”
“Other stuff?”
“It’s not much but… remember when I took that part time job that nearly killed me?” Daichi was over-exaggerating, but the amount of work did interfere with their personal time and their studies. He did not keep the job for more than a couple of months, but it was evident his health was going down the drain from overwork. Hibiki nodded, and allowed Daichi to finish his thought.

“I sort of… still have that money saved. I pick at it from time to time but… there’s enough for a trip. I mean, we might not get to see Italy or anything but we could drive over to Chubu. I’ve always wanted to go to Shizuoka.” That was an odd choice for a location. Hibiki turned to face Daichi, and walked backwards to get a better view of his face.

“...What’s in Shizuoka?” Daichi snapped his fingers and aimed finger-guns at Hibiki.
“Adventure! Haha, juuuust kidding, I have no idea…” He could not say he gave it a lot of thought either. Much like Hibiki, he just wanted to leave Tokyo for a few days with his best friend. “Um… Shi-Shirahama, maybe?” Hibiki turned to stand side-by-side next to Daichi again when they had to go down a flight of stairs.
“...You want us to go to the beach during winter?”
“I’m not saying it has to be now! Plan ahead!”
“Shirahama, huh? That’s just past Nagoya and Osaka…” Daichi could see what Hibiki was thinking.
“We could always bring them with us!” Not that Daichi wanted a car filled with people yelling conflicting ideals at each other, but spending a summer with friends on the beach felt nice. Although, that somehow made it seem less fun to look forward to. He was hoping it would just be the two of them. A small trip with the person he trusted the most. It felt more intimate.

“I was thinking we could visit them on the way.” Hearing Hibiki agree with him made him smile.
“Right, I forgot. Doesn’t seem like they’ll just tag along without any plans… Well, Joe might, but…”
“I kind of wanted to go alone.” That crushed the little sphere of happiness he built for himself as the conversation progressed.
“Oh, haha, I... didn’t know I wasn’t invited. Would have been nice to know that before you let me plan our future together as partners in crime and all that.” As always, he forgave Hibiki for unintentionally hurting his feelings. It was not like Hibiki was going to know he was already thinking about what they could do down at the beach. Hibiki took a different approach to the conversation.

“Partners in crime?”
“Wow, you have very limited imagination for someone who wants to travel the world. C’mon! We could do anything. No parental supervision. Is that paradise or what!”
“Daichi, you already do whatever you want even with parental supervision.”
“S-shut up! I do not! I just… take a lot of liberties with the rules.” Daichi pulled up his phone, and moved his thumb over the screen to tap in two locations into the search bar. Hibiki continuously reminded him not to walk with his phone in front of his face in public, but at least he was keeping one hand on the railing next to the steps while reading.

“Shirahama is about eight hours away by car. Piece of cake!”
“You sure you want to go to a beach resort for a week?”
“Why are you asking me that? Of course, I wanna come with you!”
“You can’t even change in the boy’s locker room when people are around, and you’re going to go to the beach?” That was true. He always waited for everyone but Hibiki to leave so he could change in peace. It happened spontaneously most of the time. All they had to do was keep conversation going until everyone else got bored or finished cleaning up.

“That’s different. I don’t know anyone in Shirahama. People can make fun of me all they want as long as I’m not there to hear it. That’s what I assumed everyone’s been doing behind my back all this time, actually.” Hibiki slowed down a little, and looked uncomfortable at the comment.
“...I can’t tell if you’re joking or not.” Daichi laughed nervously and shoved his phone into his pocket.
“Haha, me neither. I gotta stop being better at insulting myself than my classmates. Oh, well, on the bright side, I found something I’m better at than you are!” Normally, this would have derived a laugh from Hinako or Io, but Hibiki did not seem to take too kindly to it. The frown on his face almost implied he was ready to scold him for what he had said.
“Yeah, you really have to stop doing that...”
“Roger that, um… shutting up, now.”

The streets were paved with snow, and frost coated the naked trees in an icy pattern. Shibuya Park was only partly illuminated, so they often found themselves in parts of complete darkness. Daichi pulled his hands up to his lips to blow hot air on them. Hibiki wished he could give him his gloves, but it was too cold to be merciful, even if he had a soft spot for Daichi in his heart. To take his mind off the topic he pulled up his phone to check the time.

“It’s almost midnight. Should we fire up the fireworks we bought?”
“Yeah, uh, about that…” Daichi fidgeted.
“What’s wrong?”
“Loud noises around a guy with a fragile heart? Hibiki, I know I’m not the best friend in the world but please don’t kill me. I can better myself, I swear.” Hibiki grinned and took a step closer to pull Daichi’s beanie over his eyes. Daichi pushed the hat back in place, but felt like groaning and pulling it over his eyes again when he saw Hibiki smile.
“Super delicate.”
“No! Not delicate! Just very, very… yeah, delicate, I guess.” He could only admit it so freely because Hibiki did not say it as if it was an insult, and he knew Hibiki would not try to make fun of him for his fears, no matter how unreasonable they may be.
“Hmm, but now we don’t have anything special to do when…” Hibiki held his phone up and pointed towards the numbers on screen that read 11.52. Eight minutes until midnight. Eight minutes until a fresh start, and they were wandering aimlessly through Shibuya Park with no goal since Daichi was uneasy with fireworks.

So, they continued walking until they could think of something better to do with their free time. Surprisingly, there was no pressure in the air to come up with a replacement. They were supposed to go back to Daichi’s place after the fireworks to watch a few movies and fill up on snacks and drinks. It still sounded like a doable plan, but Daichi did not want their trip out past midnight to go unrewarded. Not when they had to fight their parents to let them out this late.

“How about this. We both make a new year's resolution?”
“You believe in those?”
“I believe in myself... a little. Don’t you? Come on man, I know you’re a professional joykill, but have a little fun!”
“What do we commit to, though?” Daichi wished he could commit to being a better person in general. Perhaps grow a little taller, look a little better, and gain some smarts so he was not completely behind on almost every school subject. It would definitely help his own self esteem, but it would also allow Hibiki the freedom to do as he wished instead of tutor him. Daichi knew Hibiki enjoyed when they studied together, but he always felt as if he was dragging him down. This was too long and too winded of an explanation for him to even consider saying out loud. What it boiled down to was “make Hibiki’s life a little easier” and that did not sound right at all. It was something he could work on in secret. There was not much he could do about his looks, but he could definitely try to smarten and toughen up a bit over the coming year.

As for Hibiki, Daichi could not even imagine what he was considering committing to. A new year's resolution was made to improve oneself, or to strive to do better. There was nothing Daichi could imagine Hibiki did not excel at. Looks, he had down to a t. Intelligence, he was probably smarter than Io. Kindness was a trait he did not bother considering, because that was the reason he felt proud to call Hibiki his best friend in the first place. Hibiki was patient, understanding, and the more he droned on about how much he appreciated his best friend, the warmer his chest felt. All this sounded so mushy in his head, and would only make the moment awkward. So, he tried to make a wish that could work for the both of them without being too sentimental.

“Hmm… how about we both set out to get dates? Get that first kiss over with.” Over with was the correct term. Daichi did not think he could manage a good first kiss, so the best thing was to get it over with as soon as possible so he could forget about it entirely. Not that his compulsive mind would allow him to forget anything awkward he did, but telling everyone the truth was starting to make him feel a little more ashamed after every confession. Daichi could not tell if the look on Hibiki’s face was one of surprise, or disappointment.
“Dates? Really?” Daichi cleared his throat and put his hands in his pockets to heat them up. The more heartfelt resolution he had in mind did not sound half bad when he heard Hibiki speak to him in such a hushed whisper. He allowed himself a brief moment of honesty before trying to justify his thinking.

“Well… I mean, I love ya and all but… it’s kind of pathetic being eighteen and still single on holidays.” Daichi forgot that his words could also be applicable to Hibiki, but the likelihood of Hibiki finding a date were higher than his own chances.
“So, your resolution is to go serial dating?” There was a sound at the back of Daichi’s throat similar to a laugh, but he stifled it. Serial dating was more Hibiki’s style. He had the looks, charm, and charisma to match it, too. Daichi could not say he would not consider serial dating if he was even half as handsome as Hibiki was. Even with looks, he feared he lacked the verbal communicative skills he needed to efficiently sweep someone off their feet. Hibiki was the only person he could talk to without tripping over every other word. He still shuddered remembering his first conversation with Io where he mentioned puppies in a panic.
“I’m not saying it’s going to work! Geez, give a guy a little hope, please.”
“So, we’re in agreement? On this day a year from now, we will-” His phone buzzed, and it was then and there that he realized it was one minute left before the year turned. He brought his phone up between himself and Hibiki and paused to get an overview of where they were. “What do you say we meet up right here next year, too. Only, this time, we’ll go on a double date.” Hibiki’s voice sounded strained, and he appeared to be tired, but Daichi chalked it up as a sign that they better get home before he fell asleep standing. Daichi could see the background on his phone faintly reflect in Hibiki’s blue eyes, and the view was downright entrancing.
“Sounds like a promise,” He zoned out, but pulled himself back to see that they only had twenty seconds left of their countdown.

“Hey, Hibiki…”
“Mhm?” Hibiki turned his head to catch a glimpse of red that tinted Daichi’s cheeks. Winter cold always gave his skin a nice sheen. The yellow scarf covered up his lips, but judging by the small folds at the corner of his eyes, he could tell Daichi was smiling.
“...Thank you for spending new years with me.” Daichi had his eyes fixed on the screen, and missed the small smile that formed on Hibiki’s lips as he placed his hand on Daichi’s shoulder and leaned closer to join the countdown.

A loud alarm started playing at the end of the countdown that had Daichi scream and Hibiki step back. Daichi forgot to set his ringtone to something more fitting for the occasion. Something about heavy metal blasting in the middle of Shibuya Park late at night felt horribly ominous. When he fiddled with his phone and barely managed to turn the sound off, he turned to Hibiki and flashed him a bashful smile.
“J-just typical, haha. Starting off the new year all jittery and-” Hibiki wrapped his arms around Daichi and held him tightly.
“Happy new year, Daichi.” Daichi was still trying to calm himself from the initial scare, but let his arms rest around his best friend. He could feel the heavy beat of his heart slow over time in Hibiki’s soft embrace, and a warmth uncommonly found in the winter cold made his body feel ten times lighter. His lips brushed against Hibiki’s jacket, and he tightened his grip just a little more to let that kind sense of belonging wash over him.
“Happy new year, Hibiki.” He noticed a distinct waver in his voice, but figured it was just aftershock from his own alarm. It was probably the winter cold that gave him shivers, and not the way Hibiki combed his fingers through his hair.
“Hey, Daichi,” Hibiki pulled away, smiling bright as ever.

“Do you want to go out with me?” Daichi tensed up, lips parting to form some sort of response, but all he did was tremble. He breathed in, airy, weak, and tried to force the words to come out, but he barely managed to utter a single letter. His voice cracked similar to the sound of stepping on gravel, the only problem was that it was all that it did. Daichi’s cheeks flushed red at how softly Hibiki placed the request, and how close he was to his face. He tried to keep his eyes from darting, but his mind could not stay focused. He curled his fingers around the soft fabric beneath his hands, and fixed his eyes on Hibiki despite his better judgement. Rendered speechless, motionless, and utterly clueless, he tried to uncover exactly what the feeling in his chest was telling him. Although, seeing Hibiki smile so fondly told him he knew what it was he wanted to happen. He lowered his gaze a little, and tried to work up the courage to speak. The problem now was not how to speak, but what to say. He caught a glimpse of the familiar smile again, and wondered if Hibiki would mind if he seized the moment to act bold for once.

The tension vanished when Hibiki let out an airy laugh and leaned back. Daichi’s eyebrows twitched, and he tried to stop his lips from quivering as he pulled away- creating more distance between them.

Of course, it was a joke.

Why would someone pose that question to him seriously?

To think Hibiki could like him a certain way was going too far. It took him so long to come to a realization only to slip right back into denial. It just hurt too much to think about. Daichi furrowed his brows to hook his arm around Hibiki’s neck. Hibiki tried to fight him off, but there was only so much strength he could muster through laughter, and Daichi ended up pushing his hoodie back to ruffle his hair.

“Not funny! That wasn’t funny, Hibiki!” He tripped over his own feet and ended up pushing Hibiki up against the railing that separated them from the lake. With a lot of luck on their side, and the fact Daichi was quick enough to place his hands on the railing instead of on Hibiki’s chest for support- they did not fall over the edge. Hibiki however, still had his arms wrapped around Daichi, and was trying to calm himself down. The constant snickering had Daichi laugh along, even if he did not feel cheery.

“Ugh, I’m going to toss you into this lake myself!” Daichi placed his hands at Hibiki’s waist and pulled him up without much of an issue. Hibiki had not expected Daichi to actually pull him off the ground, but played along for kicks. There was no way Daichi would actually go through with something this crazy.
“Are you a man of your word or what!”
“Nice knowing you!” Teasing aside, he might actually do it this time.
“I told you I would! Now, get set to get wre- wait, wait, wait, you’re wearing my sweater, abort mission, abort-” Daichi released his grip on his hips and returned to lean against the railing with a sigh, arms trapping Hibiki in place. “-you really gotta stop stealing from my closet. We’re not even the same size, dude.”
“If I promise not to steal your clothes, will you let me live?” The sly smile on Hibiki’s face made Daichi narrow his eyes to match his expression. He leaned closer, and raised his finger to point at Hibiki.
“You, sir, are a kleptomaniac... and a liar!” Daichi was starting to get sick of the way Hibiki pulled his beanie over his eyes all the time. He scrunched up his nose when he felt his bangs press flat against his eyes, and put the base of his palm at his forehead to straighten the hat again, but Hibiki already beat him to it- carefully pulling it up with two fingers to give him a peek of what was going on.

“So, what about the other part?” Daichi quirked an eyebrow at his comment.
“What other part?”
“If I can’t have a date, can I have a kiss?” No, not this weird question. Daichi had a short attention span, and could get distracted easily sometimes. This was one of those times. Had they left the topic, he probably would not have taken the moment to heart, but hearing Hibiki repeat himself was dragging at his confidence. It felt so shameful to have read his signals wrong.
“Haha… I… I really can’t tell if you’re joking or not…”
“I guess you don’t stand by your resolutions after all.”
“That’s not-! Man, can’t you give me a break? The world’s rough on me as it is...” Daichi knew what Io would say if she was here- that he was making things far too complicated than they needed to be. For once, he really agreed with her. It was probably easiest for friends to remain friends, and even friendship was more than Daichi could ask for. Feeling Hibiki slide his hands over his chest was only making him shiver with discomfort. His words came out a little choked up, but otherwise, convincing.

“H-Hibiki, why are you doing this to me?” Hibiki paused, and looked genuinely confused.
“Doing what?”
“Sorry, I… I’m not really in the mood. Can’t we just go home?” Hibiki parted his lips to speak, but blanked when he saw the hurt in Daichi’s eyes. He wished he could have phrased himself better, because this took a nasty turn he had not expected was possible.
“No, it’s… fine.” Daichi pushed himself away from the railing and took a step back to pull his scarf over his mouth. “Really, it’s… it’s fine.” It was just something to get used to, but he had thought Hibiki was different.

For once, he would prefer not to be the butt of everyone’s jokes.

The walk out of Shibuya Park was spent in agonizing silence. Daichi walked at a pace Hibiki had trouble keeping up with. He presumed Daichi just sped up whenever he got close, but it felt unnatural for there to be so much tension between them- all because he thought the shocked expression on Daichi’s face was hilarious. Hibiki would have laughed again, if he did not know that it hurt Daichi’s feelings.

“Daichi, I’m sorry.” Daichi turned around to glance at Hibiki, and slowed down for him to catch up, but his lips remained sealed. Reaching out to Daichi after such a quiet moment felt wrong, but Hibiki pushed his luck- and reached out to tug at the corner of his sleeve. Daichi’s wrist jerked at the motion, and shook Hibiki off.

“I love you, too.” Much to Hibiki’s surprise, Daichi only turned his head away at his confession and continued walking. It was reassuring to hear Hibiki say it himself, but he could not stop his mind from wandering.
“I don’t know what you want from me, man. I’ve got nothing else to tell you, so… please, stop messing with my head.”
“This isn’t a joke,” Hibiki let his hand softly rest at Daichi’s wrist before he let their fingers intertwine. He gave him a reassuring squeeze, and stepped closer to pull the yellow scarf out of his face. “-I really want to kiss you.” Daichi appeared bitter at the mention, and Hibiki wondered if it was because the thought of them kissing repulsed him. Sorrow interlaced with worry was not a good color on him.

The only times Daichi felt contempt was with himself and his own actions- never with Hibiki. There were things he did through the course of their friendship that made him seriously doubt Hibiki considered him close enough for their relationship to reach this level. Hibiki had a habit of repeating the same joke twice, wondering if he could rattle a different reaction out of him. It was similar to the way he continued to sneak up on him and used the same morning excuse to keep sleeping the day away. This hurt more than he let on. That was why he was planning on giving up. He took a deep breath before meeting Hibiki’s gaze. Brown eyes bore into blue, filled with a forced sense of determination.

“Fine.” There was a sour taste at the tip of his tongue as the words began to take form almost naturally. “If that’s what you want then… here goes.” What better lesson was there to teach him than to go through with it? That ought to tell Hibiki he can not make empty promises if he was not planning on following through. Hibiki could tell Daichi was not acting like himself, but he did agree to kiss, so Hibiki was going to stand by his word. Daichi’s actions would have come across as passive-aggressive had he been the type, but he gave up control and acted submissive- almost uncharacteristically so.

“Leaning in.” He did as he said he would, and Hibiki only closed his eyes.
“Alright.” To Daichi’s surprise, Hibiki did not seem to be pulling away, so he closed the remaining distance between their chests and put an arm around Hibiki’s waist.
“Getting… pretty close here…”
“Obviously, not close enough.” Sass, really, he thought. Hibiki was cheeky, no doubt, but he could not play it off as a joke anymore, so there was no reason for him to act so indifferent about a kiss. Daichi swallowed hard and felt a shiver run down his spine when their noses touched. Hibiki’s breath was a warm contrast to the winter breeze, and made his mind shut down for a second.
“T-this is it. Th-there’s no going back now…!” The stutter and uncertainty in his voice returned when he heard Hibiki hum.
“Mhm.” Hibiki parted his lips, a small smile tugging at the corners. It was a rare sight, but one that he recognized nonetheless. Why Hibiki was acting so calm, so neutral, so completely at ease with the idea of kissing him was starting to make his chest feel strange.

“H-Hibiki, I’m seriously going to do it!... I-!” If he pulled through, it would be his first kiss. It would also be Hibiki’s first kiss. Not only that, but it was something they could not undo and sweep under the rug when it felt convenient. This could put a strain on their relationship, and Hibiki was treating it no different than ordering takeout. It felt insulting, degrading, and more than a little humiliating to know he had no problem taking his antics to this extreme. Daichi thought he meant more to him than that.
Hibiki cocked his head slightly before pulling the gloves off his fingers to let his bare hand cup Daichi’s cheek. The warm touch of Hibiki’s palm, and the warmth of his breaths over his lips made him close his eyes. He felt guilty taking pleasure in something this simple when he knew he was not worth Hibiki’s time. This just couldn’t be true. It all started from a joke. Daichi wished he never made up that stupid new year’s resolution.

“I’m waiting.” Hibiki nuzzled close, and that was the last straw.
“What’s…” When Hibiki tried to close the gap between their lips, Daichi pushed him as far away as possible. “What’s wrong with you?!” He stepped back, releasing himself from Hibiki’s grip. “Why are you doing this to me!? What did I ever do for you to make fun of me this way!” Hibiki didn’t quite understand what went wrong this time, and tried to read Daichi’s body language. It was obvious that he was hurting, but he did not know what to say to change it.

“This isn’t funny! It was never funny! Not the first time, not the second time! Are you really going for a third?!” One, two, three- and the accusations made some sense. They were false, but at least the problem became clear when Daichi started talking. It was so rare for him to actually speak his mind instead of bottle it all up inside.

“I thought you of all people could understand. I know we joke at my expense a lot, but this crossed the line. This is really god damn low, even for you!”
“Daichi!” The patience Hibiki had for his friend was wearing off, and Daichi was walking on thin ice. There was now a clear annoyance in Hibiki’s voice, and he took one step forward to try and close the distance between them. “Man up and kiss me already!”

“Gah! Dude, shhh! Don’t say stuff like that out loud!” Hibiki narrowed his eyes and resisted the urge to smack Daichi with his own scarf. Daichi telling him to shush was about the most grating and hypocritical thing he ever heard. Someone so loud should not be trying to police other people when things get a little awkward. There were no people in the park this late at night. The public had better things to do than squabble and argue in near-complete darkness over something trivial. Hibiki took a solid hold of Daichi’s wrist again, blue eyes piercing into hazel. His voice was confident, unshakable, and had no hint of deceit.

“Man. Up. And. Kiss. Me.” Hibiki was talking so loud that Daichi forced his hand over Hibiki’s lips to shut him up.
“Hibiki! Just stop! Cut it out!” Daichi assumed Hibiki would try to pull his arm away, but he just stared at him, eyes unblinking. Hibiki’s hot breath caressed his palm, heating up his cold skin. He was not sure where to take things from this point on. It was so rare to find himself under a spotlight. Now that he got a moment to collect his thoughts, he knew that yelling at Hibiki was unfair. Even if he was angry with Hibiki, he always forgave him in the end.

“You can’t just… say something like that… and then laugh in my face and expect me to…” The sympathy Hibiki had for Daichi was slim to none. It was there when he noticed the hurt, but getting accused of toying with his best friend’s emotions was making him furious. The hurt did not stem from words, or actions, but from a misunderstanding.

“Do you really think I’d make fun of you like this?” It was easier to believe Hibiki disliked him just as some of their mutual friends did. Daichi knew people looked down on him, or considered him mediocre at best; someone unworthy. If so many people came to the same opinion, then it had to be him. That was what he figured it had to be. The simplest solution was usually the correct one. Either he was nothing but a nuisance, or everyone else was being downright mean for no reason. As much as Daichi liked to think he was branded unfairly, everyone did raise good points about his lack of strength, his lack of willpower, and drive. It only made sense for Hibiki to also share their sentiment to some degree. That was why Daichi told himself not to be surprised if Hibiki agreed with them. It was growing increasingly more difficult to give credit to this concept when Hibiki looked insulted at the mere thought of toying with him. He removed his hand slowly not to startle Hibiki, and shoved his hands into his pockets to retain some of the heat still clutching to his fingertips.

No matter how persistently Hibiki told himself not to pity Daichi, his belief started to waver at the look of agony present on Daichi’s features. Not to lose his resolve, he hurried the conversation along.
“Stop making up excuses and just kiss me.”
“Hibiki, now’s really not the time…”
“Daichi, I’m not joking.”

“Yeah, even if you’re not, now’s really not the time…” Hibiki let his hand come to rest at Daichi’s cheek again. He tried not to look too relieved when Daichi did not pull away at his touch.

“It was a misunderstanding. Let it go.” Hibiki wanted to be stern, strict, and maybe even a bit peeved because ten years of friendship should have washed away all Daichi’s doubts by now, but seeing him meet his gaze made his heart melt. He smiled softly and sighed. “Please?” The serious persona he built up came crashing down when he had to ask for a kiss seriously again. As fun as it was to aggressively demand Daichi to submit to his will, it did not fit the tone of the message he was trying to convey.
“Daichi, can we rewind to ten minutes ago before I accidentally messed up? What did I even say?” Daichi would like nothing more than to turn back time.

“It wasn’t what you said. You laughed at me. Why would you joke about something like this?”
“Oh,” Hibiki pressed his lips together and tried to reply with a straight face. Daichi sounded distraught, and the last thing he needed now was to see him break into laughter again.
“I asked for a kiss, and you had the same look on your face as you do when you can’t figure out how math works,” Hibiki grinned involuntarily, desperately holding back the laughter in his voice, and Daichi furrowed his brows at the comment. “-I thought it was kinda cute.” Daichi made an effort to look upset, but could not find a reason to stay mad at Hibiki. If anything, it only made his frustrations look ridiculous.
“I didn’t mean to upset you.” It was incredibly difficult to take an issue with the smile on Hibiki’s face, more so because he was not making fun of him by complimenting his appearance. For some odd reason, the word ‘cute’ felt more like an insult than a compliment.

“Yeah, no problem… I shouldn’t have-” There was still an awkward tension lingering in the air before Daichi made an effort to get rid of it. “Let’s just forget what happened today. Okay?” Hibiki let his hands slump to his side. He took notice to the tone of defeat present in Daichi’s voice. As much as he would like them to revisit the subject, he could understand why Daichi wanted nothing to do with it.


Daichi did not want to ask if it really was a joke or not. Hibiki had outright told him it was not a joke, but this was not something he wanted to rush into without giving it some thought. No matter if he wanted it or not, kissing his best friend was going to put him in an awkward position in case their relationship did not work out. He could not imagine losing someone so close to him over feelings he should be keeping under control. It was better to remain best friends than risk losing their bond to greed.


The only thing both of them allowed each other to remember of this night was that they had to schedule a road trip at some point.


It did not matter where, as long as they did it together.