Takeshi wasn’t sure he’d ever get used to the calm mornings. It just seemed unnatural to wake slowly in a quiet room, soft light trickling in from between the blinds. There was no reason to move or rush, no strict meal times or inmates to avoid. Just a comfortable bed and warm body curled against him.
Watching Kai sleep had always put Takeshi on guard. The human just looked so vulnerable. Of course, Kai was always too vulnerable for Takeshi’s liking, no IBM to protect him from the stupid, dangerous situations he got himself in to. When he was awake, it was easy to remember Kai could look after himself and berate him for the stupid aspects of those situations. It was not so easy when Kai was sleeping.
Not that there were any stupid, dangerous situations to find themselves in these days. That was something else Takeshi couldn’t seem to get used to. They were free men now (men on the run, technically), with no further involvement with the other ajin. Takeshi was still getting used to the idea of it all.
It had happened months ago when Kei had called for Kaito only to send him away in practically the same breath. Even though Takeshi had been expecting that, he was still pissed. Kaito wasn’t, of course Kaito wasn’t. He’d just been happy to be useful to his best friend once more. Takeshi hated it. He’d never understood why Kaito let himself be so blatantly used, even less so after seeing it himself. The annoyance had been clear in his tone when he reminded Kaito his offer had been a one-time deal, if they went back he wouldn’t be helping the fool escape again. Ridiculous, optimistic Kaito had just smiled and said they should just not go back.
He must’ve been planning it for a while by then; it only took Kai a few days to prepare everything. The house, the fake ids, the job interviews. In hardly any time at all, Kai and Takeshi were settling into a small mountain town. Takeshi wasn't sure how he’d done it, perhaps Kei didn’t leave him as empty-handed. The thought didn’t make him like Kei any better.
The town was nice; the house was cozy; his job was tolerable. Takeshi was just waiting for the other shoe to drop really, it all seemed too normal to be true. The first few weeks he was constantly expecting someone to recognise them, or for the police to track them down. As time went on, he grew more comfortable with the knowledge that no one knew, or at least no one was likely to find them. Still, Takeshi couldn’t convince himself this would last forever.
“It’s too early for that face.” Kaito had woken up, it seemed, looking up at Takeshi with a face more content than determined these days.
“What face?” Takeshi frowned his focus back on Kai, not their past and future.
“Your thinking face,” Kai answered, as though it were obvious.
“We can’t all be as empty-headed as you.” Takeshi rolled his eyes.
“What are you thinking about?” Kaito prompted, not even noting the empty insult.
“Whether it’s worth buying an alarm clock or not. We’re already well into the morning, and neither of us are up.” Takeshi claimed, not quite lying. He had been thinking of getting one, he was starting to get early shifts, and he’d rather not be late because he slept in.
“Takeshi.” Kai frowned, looking at him expectantly. Takeshi sighed, looking away and wishing he had a smoke. He preferred to have these types of conversations while he was smoking.
“What would you do if Kei needed you?” He asked. Even growing comfortable that it won't happen if they were recognized or the police showed up he and Kai could always run. If Kei called, Takeshi feared that would be the end of the life they'd made together. He needed to know for sure if all this was simply a way for Kai to pass the time until Kei wanted him, even if Takeshi was sure Kei would never be smart enough to want Kai.
“I’d come back to you.” Kai answered after a moment, face shifting into that confident determination, as though saying it made it easy to achieve.
“But you’d still go to him.” It wasn’t a question, of course it wasn’t a question. Kai would always go to Kei.
“He’s my best friend,” Kai answered like that was all the explanation Takeshi needed, like he’d ever understood Kai’s devotion to his so-called best friend.
“What if he never sends you away again.” Takeshi asked, even though he was certain that would never happen and there was nothing to worry about. His stomach still refused to settle at the thought.
“He won’t need me every second. It’ll just be like going to work and coming home to you when I’m done.” Kai said, with the same tone and certainty. It reminded Takeshi of the first real conversation they'd had. Just like then, Takeshi didn’t get Kai at all, but he believed him.
“Good,” Takeshi said, aiming for his usual empty tone rather than revealing the bubbling feeling in his gut. He wouldn’t lose Kai to Kei, and not just because Kei was too stupid to try to take him. Considering the knowing smile and the soft peck on his lips, Takeshi didn’t think Kai bought the tone at all.
“You have work today, right?” Kai asked, already standing from the bed.
“Don’t remind me.” Takeshi sighed. He’d gotten a job stocking shelves at the local grocery store shortly after they’d moved in. It was simple, easy work until you factored in his annoying co-workers. Kai just smiled as his annoyance.
“Then I’ll pack lunch for you while I make breakfast.” Kai decided. Takeshi sighed again as Kai left the bedroom, finally dragging himself out of bed to follow the human into the kitchen. Kai moved easily around their kitchen, comfortable in a space he used often. Takeshi was more a hindrance than a help with cooking, they both knew it, so he simply sat at the counter and spoke with Kai as he prepared their breakfast.
That bubbling feeling, he realized as they ate together, was happiness.