~ ✿ ~ Kānēshon ~ ✿ ~
“Mirio-kun, come downstairs!” Calls his mother from the bottom of the stairwell, voice traveling up to her son who was splayed out on the floor of his bedroom. Game console in hand, tongue sticking out of the corner of his mouth, as he rapidly smashes its buttons with his thumbs in hopes of beating the final boss villain on screen.
“Coming, okasan!” Cries back Mirio, pausing the fight on screen. Video game quickly forgotten, he tosses his abandoned controller onto the carpet and quickly scampers his way down the steep stairs, socked feet slipping precariously on the slippery hardwood floors.
“Careful, Mirio-kun,” scolds his mother, not unfondly, as she catches him just before he falls off the last step. He’s always been a little clumsy after all, and with his recent bout of growth spurts, his control over his limbs has been lacking even more so than usual.
Hands giving his shoulders a tight squeeze, she looks him over. Takes the time to straighten his wrinkled shirt, and run her fingers through his hair messily gelled back hair. “Okaaasan! Stop it!” Cries Mirio, feeling a little embarrassed. He’s nine years old, he doesn’t need his mother fixing his hair for him like he’s a baby anymore.
“Oh, shush,” replies his mother, rolling her eyes at her son’s dramatics. She’s got a soft smile on her face however, so Mirio doesn’t really think he’s in trouble for the outburst. “We’ve got new neighbours, Mirio-kun! They just moved in two doors down from us. To-san’s just run over to the shop to pick out some flowers to give to them. When he gets back we’re going to go over there and welcome them to the neighborhood.”
“New neighbours?” Repeats Mirio, scrunching up his nose. He doesn’t really care about all of that. His neighborhood’s mostly filled with a lot of elders, and while they’re always very nice to Mirio, they aren’t exactly exciting companions to have. What he really wants is to live closer to some of his classmates. That way he’d be able to walk home with someone, and maybe they’d even play together afterschool, or do their homework. He could use some help trying to figure out his history notes.
Really, he just wants to go back upstairs and play with his new All Might video game for a little while longer. It’s late spring, and so it’s really hot outside. His parents bought an AC this year, so his room is nice and cool, and he’d rather just stay there. Maybe grab a popsicle from the basement.
“Yes, and they’ve even got a son who’s around the same age as you.”
“They do?” Asks Mirio, eyes like saucers as his head snaps to regard his mother. AC and video game easily forgotten in favor of the prospect of a new found friend.
“Mhm,” murmurs his mother, eyes warm as she smiles fondly down at her only son. “Won’t it be nice to have a friend so close to home?”
“Yeah!” Shouts Mirio, suddenly feeling extremely excited, energy coursing through his body at all the possibilities. “Maybe we can even be best friends!”
His mother just laughs at that, her voice a melody of dulcet tones. Before she can respond to her son’s adamant proclamation, the lock on their front clicks open and his father is stepping inside, bouquet of white and purple wrapped in colorful paper held in his free hand.
“There you two are, shall we head over then?” He asks, tilting a head towards the door.
Mirio bounds up to him, eyes bright as he does a little hop in place. “Hey, to-san! Did you hear? The new neighbours have a son the same age as me!”
“I did hear, Mirio-kun.” His father chuckles, using a hand to ruffle his son’s head and thoroughly ruining the sculpted style Mirio had been attempting recently to try and look more mature. He squawks at the disruption to his efforts, hands flying up to hair to try and salvage his look.
“Now listen here,” his father adds, bending down so that his eyes are at level with Mirio’s. “It’s very important that we do our best to make these new neighbours of ours feel welcome, okay musuko?”
“Of course, to-san,” replies Mirio, rolling his eyes. He’s always been friendly, he isn’t planning on acting differently now that he has an actual chance of making a best friend. That being said, he’s getting a little nervous, because this is actually happening, and what if he says something wrong and messes it all up?
His parents are already heading out the door, so Mirio rushing to slip on his sneakers, laces left undone, as he goes to grip onto his father’s outstretched hand. He knows he’s a little old to hold his parents’ hands, but, well, this is a special occasion. His feet slap against the hot pavement, and the heat of the afternoon makes him feel instantly sticky in his clothes. His palms are really sweaty, so he wipes them on his shorts a few times.
Mirio really hopes that him and this new neighbor of his can be best friends. He’s never had one of those before, not really anyways. He’s always been a little jealous of the kids in his class who do have best friends. Akihiko and Naoko are best friends, and they have a secret handshake. They won’t teach it to anyone else, no matter how many times Mirio’s asked.
If Mirio and his new neighbour become best friends, then they’ll come up with a secret handshake of their own too. One that they won’t tell anyone else about. It’ll be something special, a secret shared between just the two of them.
It doesn’t take very long to get where they’re going, it is only two houses away after all. When they get there they find a tall, skinny woman with thick black hair tied back underneath a really wide sun hat, gardening gloves donned as she kneels before the small flowerbed in the front lawn. It looks to be as if she’s planting some kind of bulbs there.
“Hello, there!” Calls out Mirio’s mother, and the woman turns around quickly, a look of surprise that quickly fades into a peasant smile lighting up her angular features.
“We’re the Togatas, we live just down the street.” She explains, pointing to their house just a few doors over from the one they stand in front of now. “We just wanted to come by and say welcome.”
“Oh, it’s so lovely to meet you!” Greets the woman, tossing off her gloves and dusting off her now bare hands on her overalls. “I’m Amajiki Kiyo.”
“Togata Michiko, and this is my husband, Masahiro.” His mother replies, shaking the woman’s hand. “And this,” she says, placing both her hands on Mirio’s shoulders as she stands behind him. “Is our son, Mirio.”
Amajiki-san’s smile brightens up considerably at that, her dark eyes gleaming as she regards Mirio, who can’t help puffing out his chest a little at all the attention he’s getting.
“That’s wonderful!” She says. “I’ve got a son of my own, and he’s just about the same age as you, Mirio-kun. Why don’t I go grab him, hmm?”
With that she’s turning around to disappear behind back of their house. Mirio holds his breath as he waits. He kind of wants to fidget, but he stays still in anticipation.
Only a moment later Amajiki-san returns, pulling along a small looking boy, with really messy hair (way more messy than Mirio’s is, even when he wakes up in the morning). He’s even got dirt all over his face and clothes. Mirio’s kind of jealous, because there’s no way he wouldn’t get in trouble for getting himself that dirty.
“Mirio-kun, this is my son, Tamaki.” Amajiki-san introduces.
And, Mirio recognizes him right away. He can’t believe his luck, because Tamaki’s the new kid in his class, the one that was just introduced a few days ago. He knows the other boy really likes superheroes, but he doesn’t really know much else about him since he’s pretty quiet.
They’ve even sat together at lunchtime the past few days along with a few of his other friends. Tamaki hadn’t said much though, so Mirio hadn’t been sure if he’d really enjoyed sitting with Mirio. But, it kind of seems as though Tamaki’s just really shy, so maybe he didn’t mind hanging out with Mirio after all.
“Say hi, Tamaki-kun.” Amajiki-san nudges her son.
Except, Tamaki doesn’t say hi. Instead, he stays silent. He’s hunched over, kind of hiding behind his mother’s frame, the pointed tips of his ears peeking out from behind his mother’s elbow as he watches Mirio with golden eyes. Mirio can’t really see him from there, so, without really thinking about it, he bounds over to where Tamaki is cowering, and sticks his face really close to the other boy’s.
“I’m Mirio,” he greets. “We’re in class together at school! Do you remember me?”
Tamaki nods once. A snaggle tooth sticking out of his mouth to bite at his lower lip.
Mirio sticks out his hand at that, even though Tamaki’s hands are super dirty. It’s what adults do when they meet each other, so it’ll probably make him seem really grown up and cool if he does it too. Tamaki just stares at him for a moment, eyes wide as they blink back at him. His lips are tightly pursed and the tips of his ears are turning a bright shade of red that matches the outfit of Mirio’s All Might figurine on his desk back at home.
Eventually, after what feels like forever, Tamaki removes one of his hands from gripping onto his mother’s overalls and tentatively reaches out to grasp onto Mirio’s. They shake. Tamaki’s palm is pretty sweaty too. “H-hi, Mirio-kun... Of course I remember you.”
Mirio doesn’t really know what that means, but he hopes it’s a good thing. He’s pretty sure it’s a good thing anyways.
“Do you have a best friend?” He blurts out, unable to contain his curiosity any longer. “Because I don’t. So, if you don’t either, I think we should be best friends. Would that be okay?”
He can hear their parents conversing above them, talking warmly as his parents introduce Amajiki-san to the others in the neighborhood, but Mirio ignores all of them in favor of watching the boy in front of him and waits for his very important answer.
“Um, no,” hesitates Tamaki, golden eyes bright as watch Mirio. “I don’t h-have a best friend. So, I’d like being your best friend... very much.”
Mirio beams back, feeling like he might have just won the lottery.
Which is how Togata Mirio gains his first, and only, best friend.
Then his father’s nudging him, and he’s looking away from Tamaki to quirk an eyebrow up at his father. Who, upon meeting Mirio’s eyes hands him the bouquet of ayame and jasmine, and tilts his head towards Tamaki. Mirio feels his cheeks heat a little at that, but he turns back around and presents the bouquet to Tamaki.
“Um, welcome to the neighborhood.” He adds as he passes them over.
He feels a little embarrassed. Giving someone flowers feels like something an older boy would do for a girl in one of those shoujo’s animes some of the girls in his class talk about all the time. He pushes away that concern though, because his father did tell him to do it, and this is supposed to be a bouquet of friendship, not romance.
Tamaki’s whole face bleeds red as he accepts them, and he practically inhales the flowers with how much he hides his face in their petals.
Mirio can’t help but think that those colors don’t really suit Tamaki at all. Yes, the flowers are pretty, of course they are, his father grew them after all. But, he thinks that a bouquet of kaneshon would suit the other boy better. Ones with petals as red a Tamaki’s cheeks, and that match the golden of his eyes.
Tamaki whispers a quiet thank you into the petals before handing them over to his mother, who seems delighted by the purple and white flowers. When Tamaki looks back over at Mirio, Mirio can’t help from saying the first thing that comes to his mind, which happens to be an invite back to his place to play his new All Might video game together. Tamaki accepts enthusiastically.
That night, he asks his father why they couldn’t have given the Amajiki’s kaneshon flowers instead of ayame and jasmine. His father just laughs at that, big and booming.
“Mirio-kun, we gave the Amajikis those particular flowers because they mean friendly tidings.”
“You can say you want to be someone’s friend just with flowers?” Asks Mirio, eyes blinking wide in shock.
That makes it sound like a secret code, which is pretty cool. And, if there really is a secret meaning to flowers, his father would definitely know. He’s a florist, and one of the coolest, smartest people Mirio knows.
“Sure you can,” replies his father. “It’s called hanakotoba, it’s the language of flowers.”
“Wow,” breaths Mirio.
Except, later, after his mother has yelled at him to turn out his lights and go to bed for the third time that night, Mirio still can’t get the idea of kaneshon flowers out of his head. If flowers have meanings, well then, he doesn’t know why those ones can’t mean friendship too, at least for him and Tamaki that is.
~ ❀ ~ Wasurenagusa ~ ❀ ~
It turns out Tamaki is always covered in dirt because he really likes butterflies, and so he’s always chasing them around fields, or climbing up trees to follow them, or laying in flower beds to watch them.
They’re a little older now, they’ve just started middle school, and so they’re a little too big to still be playing around in the dirt. But Tamaki does it anyway.
He just slips his school bag off his shoulders, places it on the pavement without fanfare, and lies down with no preamble in the flowerbed in front of his house when they pass by it on the way home from school that afternoon.
And Mirio knows his mother is going to be pretty mad at him for getting grass stains on his uniform, but he still decides to joins Tamaki all the same. Lying beside him in the rich soil, watching as the butterflies flit around from flower to flower.
They have to be really quiet and still like this, or they’ll scare them away. It’s hard for Mirio, because he’s not very good at being silent and motionless. He’s used to being really loud and in constant motion, kind of the opposite of Tamaki. Even still, he knows this makes Tamaki really happy, so he tries his very best to be as still and silent as possible as he lies there next to the other boy.
He knows Tamaki doesn’t share his love for butterflies with just anyone. He doesn’t really share much of himself with anyone actually. He’s really quiet, and he doesn’t tell people things about himself unless they specifically ask him for the information. Mirio’s really lucky, because he asks Tamaki all sorts of questions about practically everything, and Tamaki always answers every single one of them.
He’s really honest when he answers Mirio too. Mirio can just tell. His wide eyes always stare really deeply into Mirio’s own, and his replies are spoken very quietly, but his voice never wavers. And, Mirio just knows the other boy is telling the truth. That’s what best friends do, after all.
Mirio likes lying down like this beside Tamaki, because when they do, it’s less obvious that Tamaki’s grown so much taller than him. He sometimes feels a little silly about being so much shorter than Tamaki, and he knows the height difference makes Tamaki feel awkward.
Tamaki’s really tall, and he just sprouted up like that practically overnight. Mirio’s been having little growth spurts along the way, but none that have been anywhere near as big as the one Tamaki’s had. He’s really skinny too, because the rest of his body hasn’t caught up with his new height yet. He’s practically a head taller than everyone else in their class, so he’s started hunching himself over to make himself seem smaller than he really is. Mirio doesn’t think it’s fooling anyone, but he keeps quiet about it anyways.
Here, when they’re laying like this, next to one another, they can be face to face without Mirio having to crane his neck, and Tamaki can’t hide from him by tilting his head just-so to where his bangs cover almost all of his face. They get to just look at each other, unobscured, which is nice. Mirio likes looking at Tamaki.
Mirio doesn’t really know why, but recently whenever Tamaki looks at him like that, and speaks to him softly, like he’s taking him seriously (which nobody besides Tamaki and his parents really do) Mirio’s heart starts to thump really loudly in his chest, and his stomach gets all knotted up, and his palms get a little sweaty.
It makes him want to do irrational things. Like, grab Tamaki’s hand, even though he doesn’t have a reason to. Or, tuck the other boy’s messy hair behind a pointed ear, just so he can see if the Tamaki’s blushing or not. Maybe even press his lips against the other’s, just see what it feels like.
He doesn’t though. Not yet, anyways.
So, even though it’s kind of a secret, Mirio tells Tamaki that flowers have coded meanings. Because what’s the point in having a best friend if you can’t tell them stuff like that?
And, honestly, Tamaki’s the bestest friend anyone could ever ask for. He’s really nice, and he’s super smart, and he makes the funniest faces at Mirio’s jokes. He even snorts a little when he laughs at a joke Mirio’s made that’s particularly funny, which is kind of endearing in the most unexpected of ways.
When Mirio tells him about hanakotoba, he says it really quietly, just barely a whisper, so that he doesn’t disturb the butterflies flitting around them. He doesn’t even turn his head to say so, he just watches Tamaki from the corner of his eyes.
“That’s pretty cool,” whispers back Tamaki. Mirio can’t tell if he’s being quiet just because Tamaki is always a little bit quieter than Mirio is, or if it’s because he knows how important it is to keep this secret. Mirio kind of hopes it’s the second one. “What do these mean then?”
This time Mirio has to tilt his head, so he does it really slowly and precisely. Looking over to see as Tamaki’s eyes regard the cluster of wasurenagusa beside him, their blue petals bright against the afternoon sun. Mirio scrunches up his forehead, thinking really hard and trying to remember what his father has told him about different kinds of flowers on the weekend mornings when he goes in to help around the shop.
“They mean… true love.” He says, and then immediately wrinkles his nose, because the idea of love is a little gross, and a lot embarrassing. He looks over to see Tamaki doing the same with his own pointed nose, a dusting of pink on his cheekbones. “That’s really lame though.”
Sees Tamaki nod in agreement before he continues on. “I think we should make up our own meaning for them though. A secret just between us.”
“Um, okay,” breaths out Tamaki in hesitant agreement. Mirio’s still watching him from the corner of his eyes, and he sees Tamaki’s adam’s apple bob as he takes a silent gulp of air.
“Yeah,” continues Mirio, voice picking up momentum as an idea striking him. “And, they should mean happiness for us!”
“Why?” Asks Tamaki, head minisculely turning to face Mirio, bright eyes curious.
“Because,” answers Mirio, voice suddenly full of unwavering confidence. “Your garden is full of them, and I’m most happy when I’m with you, Tamaki-kun!”
When Tamaki doesn’t reply, Mirio looks over to find Tamaki staring up into the sky, face as red as a tomato. He can see Tamaki’s fingers twitching in the dirt, and he knows the other boy is suppressing the urge to cover his bright face with his hands.
“Is that alright?” Mirio asks, wondering again why Tamaki blushes so easily. He doesn’t really get it, but he kind of likes it anyways.
“Yeah,” breaths out Tamaki before glancing back at Mirio from the corner of his eyes. Sucks in a deep breath that makes his chest puff out before saying, “I’m most h-happy when I’m with you too, Mirio-kun.”
Mirio finds his own cheeks heat at that statement, and he sucks in a breath of his own, feeling suddenly overwhelmed. He looks back up at the clouds passing by in the sky as silence falls weightedly between them.
“Hey, Tamaki-kun?” Asks Mirio a moment later. An almost tense silence has descended between them, and so Mirio easily hears Tamaki’s breath hitch audibly in response.
“Uh,” Mirio starts, and his chest is getting really tight all of a sudden. He breathes out slowly, and the heavy stillness between them feels like it’s about to burst. Mirio wants to laugh, even though he doesn’t really know why. He does anyways, and the chuckled sound breaks the tension between them.
“Do you think you could sprout butterfly wings if you ate one yourself?” He ponders aloud, almost to himself.
“Mirio-kun!” Gasps Tamaki, springing up, a look of pure shock on his face. The butterflies in question scatter away at the sudden movement. “I couldn’t eat a butterfly!"
Mirio sits up too, a mischievous glint in his eye. “You could too, if I snuck one into your bento that is."
“Don’t you dare!” Cries Tamaki, turning. Suddenly he’s jumping on top of Mirio, tackling him to the ground again, and they’re rolling around in the dirt, squishing almost all of Amajiki-san’s lovely blue flowers in the process.
Tamaki’s much taller than Mirio, but he’s so skinny that his height can’t really do much, so Mirio ends up on top, pinning Tamaki into the dirt and giving him a noogie when it’s all over.
It’s kind of fun being silly like this with Tamaki. It makes Mirio’s insides bubble with something he can’t quite name, all he knows it that it’s some kind of happiness anyways.
And that feeling doesn’t go away. Even when Tamaki’s mother comes out to find them covered from head to toe in dirt, and reems them out for ruining her flowers. Not even when he goes home and gets almost the same scolding from his own mother for sullying his uniform.
It comes back tenfold the next day at lunch when he pretends to sneak something into Tamaki’s bento and laughs so hard he snorts his milk out of his nose when Tamaki jumps almost a foot in the air, hands going to his back to feel for wings when he notices.
He thinks it’s a pretty nice feeling, all things considered.
~ ✿ ~ Himawari ~ ✿ ~
It’s a very hot summer afternoon when Mirio’s father takes his entire family, along with Tamaki who had been over at the Togata’s playing video games with Mirio, out to the himawari maze that’s set up just an hour outside of town.
It’s one of the last few days of summer break, and the anticipation to return to UA for their second term of freshman year is high. Half of their summer was spend away at the training camp, so they’ve only been home for a couple weeks. All of which have been spend either inside along with the AC playing video games, or at the community pool trying to stay cool in the sweltering heat of late August.
Being dragged out at midday, when the sun is at its brightest, to the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing besides tall stalks of himawari that offer little shelter, doesn’t really fit with that particular plan.
On top of everything else, today might be the hottest day yet, since even Tamaki, who usually doesn’t even like wearing t-shirts or anything besides many layers of long sleeves, is in a tank top and shorts too.
The car ride over isn’t so bad, because their sedan has AC and tinted windows, but it’s still hot enough that Mirio can feel sweat trickling down his back as it rests against the vinyl car seat. The heat wave hits him as he slides out of the vehicle, feels as though his entire body is liquefying under its palpable pressure. He looks over to see Tamaki, who doesn’t seem to be faring much better, his heavy bangs plastered to his forehead under his bucket hat.
Mirio wishes he brought his own hat, but ever since he cut off most of his hair he’s been trying to style it up with gel (kind of like he did when he was younger) and a hat would have squashed all of his efforts in a matter of minutes. Though it hardly seems to matter now, because the sweat from the sun has had a similar effect on his hair gel, and now the thick strands of blonde hair hang down around his head in a sad imitation of what they had been when he’d left his house only an hour earlier.
His father seems completely ignorant of his son’s silent pleas to turn around and go home, because he happily pays and passes out maps to the maze from the information stand while whistling a jaunty tune, as if he hasn’t a care in the world. Mirio shoves the map in his back pocket, and glares sulkily from behind his Ray-Bans. His father doesn’t seem to notice.
Once his father has passed out the water bottles and sunscreen, him and his mother head off in one direction, telling Mirio and Tamaki to head in the opposite direction and see which pair ends up finishing the maze first.
They make their way through the tall stalks quietly, trudging along in relative silence, the only real sounds coming from the scuffling of their feet in the dirt and the buzzing of bees as they pass from brightly colored flower to flower.
Tamaki seems very invested in reading the map and gazing around at all the flowers that tower over their heads. Normally Mirio would be chattering up a storm to try and fill the silence, but he’s in a relatively grumpy mood because of the weather, and doesn’t mind the peaceful tranquility the quiet brings with it.
The sun burns hotly against his back, and he can just tell his shoulders are going to be burnt to a crisp by the time they get home tonight, but the longer they stay out there, slightly shaded by the wide flower heads and their tall, steady stalks, he starts to feel a little calmer, a little more at peace.
“Hey, Tamaki-kun!” He calls out to the other teen, whose slightly ahead of Mirio due to the other’s dawdling. “Do you think you could manifest a himawari if you wanted?”
Even from this far away, Mirio’s almost certain Tamaki’s blushing, because the other boy always does when his quirk is brought up. Mirio doesn’t really get why Tamaki’s so embarrassed about his quirk, because Manifestation is such an awesome one, and Tamaki’s worked really hard at figuring out the specifics of it, and is really talented at using it.
Mirio wants to talk about it all the time, he’s so proud of what Tamaki’s achieved. But he doesn’t, because he knows the other gets really bashful when the subject is brought up too often.
It’s because of that talent in the use of such a quirk that Tamaki got recommended for UA and didn’t even have to take the entrance exam like Mirio did. At the time, Mirio had been really jealous of Tamaki, but also really proud of him, and it had made his chest feel all funny inside, kind of achy. It’s okay though, because they both got in eventually, and they’re even in the same class again, so everything turned out alright in the end.
That achy feeling in his chest hasn’t really left though. If anything, it’s been kind of getting worse the more time the two of them spend together - which is almost all the time, because they’re best friends after all.
Like right now, for instance. Even though they’re just talking casually, and nothing out of the ordinary is going on, his chest is clenching really tightly, and his stomach is doing uneasy somersaults as he gazes back at Tamaki, whose face is hidden beneath his sweaty bangs and bucket hat.
Normally Mirio’s pretty pleased, almost boisterous even, that he’s finally outgrown his best friend, but right now he’s a little frustrated that because of their new height difference Tamaki can hide his face from Mirio beneath the wide brim of his hat.
The other teen, who grew almost 10 centimetres once overnight when they were in middle school, hasn’t really grown much since, while Mirio has been slowly and steadily growing almost continuously since that time. It was only about a month ago that he finally started to exceed Tamaki by a few centimetres, but the height difference has only increased since then, and it doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.
“Um, I guess so,” replies Tamaki, taking a moment to think his question over before answering earnestly.
Mirio really likes that about Tamaki - how he always answers Mirio as honestly and seriously as he can.
Because of his quirk, and his almost constant state of losing his apparel, Mirio’s become a bit of a joke to the rest of his class. He doesn’t mind too much, most of the time anyways, and he’s usually good at laughing it off, but he doesn’t think he’d handle it very well if Tamaki started treating him like that. Luckily the other teen never has.
“Want to see me try?” Asks Tamaki, and Mirio jolts in surprise. Tamaki almost never offers to use his quirk unless he needs to, so this is kind of an unexpected offer. Mirio jumps at it, of course.
“Come over here then,” beckons Tamaki, pulling Mirio over to a little indent in the flower stalks where they can sit down, legs crossed and facing each other.
Tamaki pulls out a bag of himawari seeds, one’s that Mirio’s father had passed out before they’d started this little excursion, and pops a couple into his mouth. Placing it down beside them, he swallows dryly, and holds out his hands, one on top of the other, palms facing up. He takes a deep breath before letting it out, eyes downcast, watching his upturnt palm, and Mirio shifts his eyes to do the same.
Slowly, a green stalk starts to appear from the middle of his heart line, growing upwards until it unfurls into brightly colored petals that extend past their centre out like rays of sunlight.
“Wow,” breaths Mirio, taken aback by its beauty. Tamaki stays silent, concentration focused on the flower growing from his hand.
“Hey, look!” Adds Mirio, when he realizes, “it’s facing towards me!”
“Yes,” agrees Tamaki quietly. This manifestation must be taking a lot out of him, because his breathing is sounding a little labored. “You are my sun after all.”
With that, Mirio’s head snaps up to meet Tamaki’s, eyes searching the depths of golden liquid. Tamaki’s cheeks look to be on fire, but he’s got a sort of stony resolve about his features, kind of like the way he’d looked when they’d faced their first UA Sports Festival.
And without even thinking it through, Mirio’s own palms reach up to cup Tamaki’s resolute jaw, and presses his lips against the other teen’s own. Soon enough Tamaki’s hands, newly himawari-free, grip onto his forearms, fingernails digging into his heated skin as Tamaki tilts his head, parts his lips slightly, and deepens the kiss further.
It’s a little messy, and their teeth clack together a few times awkwardly, but Tamaki’s making all these little noises, that are really kind of cute, and he’s breathing really heavily into Mirio’s mouth, which feels indescribable, and when they break apart he pants against Mirio’s ear, which is actually really hot. So in the end it’s probably one of Mirio’s best experiences to date.
And though neither of them are willing to say it yet, he’s pretty sure they both understand exactly what himawari means in that moment.
~ ❀ ~ Shiragiku ~ ❀ ~
Mirio hates shiragiku.
He’s never hated anything before in his life, but he hates shiragiku with all his heart.
With their white petals and delicate stems they’re beautiful, and soft, and tranquil - the complete opposite of the ugly way his chest clenches tightly. The messiness of tears running down his face silently. The way it’s hard for him to breath without taking big gulps of harsh air that burn his lungs as he stares back at the bouquets of the flowers in question that surround the casket of his most trusted mentor.
He feels a lot of things all at once, and completely empty, all at the same time. He’s not really sure how that’s possible, but it is.
Tamaki’s standing beside him to his right, Nejire flanking his left, and they’re both squeezing his hands really hard. So hard that he doesn’t think his circulation can handle it, but he doesn’t want them to stop, so he stays silent on the matter.
It’s an effort just to breath right now.
He can’t stop replaying everything that happened between 8:00 AM and 9:15 AM on the day of the raid. Agonizing over every step, every decision. Had he done something differently, would it have made a difference? Would it have been enough to change what had happened?
In the end it doesn’t really matter. What’s done is done, and while the future may be twisted, there’s no changing the past.
Mirio is quirkless, and mentorless, and feeling rather hopeless, if he’s being honest.
That’s not something he can say aloud. He has to be strong, he has to be heroic, he needs to keep smiling.
But right now it feels like the entire world has come crashing down around him, and the pressure is building and building within him, and he’s not sure he’ll last if he doesn’t let it out somehow.
So he squeezes his friends’ hands back just as hard, maybe even slightly harder. He grits his teeth, and he stands very stiff, and he waits for the funeral to progress.
Then, after offering his condolences to the others, and receiving their condolences in return, he goes and hides in a very clean, very nice bathroom, where he cries his eyes out really loudly, gasps echoing explosively against the silent porcelain surrounding him. He curls himself up in a ball, his school uniform probably getting completely wrinkled in the process, and stays like that for what feels like a very long time, but is probably only a couple minutes in actuality.
It is long enough for Tamaki to come looking for him though.
It’s not very hard to find him, since the bathroom is not too far from the main area where the funeral is being held, and he didn’t even remember to lock the door before collapsing against the cool tiled floor.
Tamaki enters a little hesitantly, only taking enough steps inside to close the door behind him, this time locking it. Then he just stand there, watching Mirio.
A few beats pass, before he slides down along the wall to join Mirio on the ground, back resting against the tile and elbows on his bent knees. He’s close enough that their sides touch, and he slowly rests his shoulder and knee against Mirio’s when Mirio doesn’t protest to tentatively offered proximity.
They stay like that for a while longer. Until Mirio’s wracking sobs settle into hitches of breath, and finally into silent hiccups.
“I hate shiragiku.” Says Mirio harshly, breaking the silence.
“I know,” whispers back Tamaki.
They continue to sit, breathing heavily, and Mirio lets his head rest against Tamaki’s shoulder as his heart begin to slow down its pace. After a very long time, or maybe just a short pause, he stands up, and brushes off his uniform. Tamaki does the same, before taking his hand.
“Ready to go?” He asks, tilting his head towards the door, golden eyes like a turbulent storm.
“Yes,” replies Mirio, his voice coming out stronger and steadier than it was only a moment before. “They need us out there. We’re supposed to become heroes, aren’t we?”
Mirio! You are becoming an outstanding hero…
“Mirio,” says Tamaki, voice a little wobbly, eyesight wobblier. “You already are one.”
~ ✿ ~ Hyakunichisou ~ ✿ ~
“Here you go, Nakamura-sama!” Mirio says pleasantly, handing over the newly wrapped bouquet of brightly coloured flowers to his loyal customer.
“Oh, Togata-kun,” she replies, waving her free hand in the air as she accepts the freshly cut flower stems with the other. “I’ve told you before, the -sama is unneeded. I’ve been coming to this store since you were knee-high. There’s no need to be so formal with me!”
“Well, maybe I just like to be contrary.” Mirio responds smoothly, a charming smile twisting up the corner of his lips. The elderly lady just barks out a laugh in reply.
“Give your father my best, as always.” She says as she hands over the yen owed.
“It’s so nice to see you taking over your old man’s business, my dear.” She adds, a twinkle in her eye. “You make quite the florist.”
“Ha, thank you!” Replies Mirio, and hand coming up to rub at the back of his head at the unexpected praise. “I couldn’t really see myself doing anything else.”
And it’s the truth.
After everything that happened in his third year, he was able to transfer into the General Studies stream at UA, and graduate on time along with his peers. From there, there was really only one career for him, and he took it willingly. Happy enough to be working alongside his father, the only man alive who he regarded so highly.
Working with flowers came easily enough to Mirio, he had been helping out around the shop all his life after all. It wasn’t really that big of a transition to eventually take over the shop from his father when the man grew old enough that retirement seemed more enjoyable than keeping up the family business. Since then it had been doing just fine, their loyal customers happy to continue buying from the same family of florists.
After waving Nakamura-sama off, Mirio spends the rest of the day flitting around the shop. Making new displays, checking up on the plants out back, selling a few more bouquets to random customers passing by. And before long, the workday is over, and it’s time to close up shop.
He takes his time sweeping away the stray petals and leafs from the floor along with the dirt and dust that clutter about. He’s not really in a hurry to get home since Tamaki’s out patrolling tonight, and that always lasts longer than Mirio’s store hours. He’ll make it home first, he always does.
His chest feels a little heavy when he thinks about Tamaki - no, Suneater - out there patrolling the streets with Fatgum and Red Riot. Saving lives, protecting the peace. He misses it, if it’s possible to miss something that he never really had to begin with. But he misses it in a melancholic way, not completely devastatingly, as he once had. He’s come to terms with his life, and he doesn’t regret a thing. If he had to, he’d do it all over again.
It’s then that his phone rings, breaking the silence of the empty shop. He pulls it out of his pocket, somewhat surprised to see his father’s name displayed on the screen. He’s used to getting random calls from the other man, but not usually this late at night.
“Hello?” He says into the phone, putting away the broom, and grabbing his keys to lock up the store.
“Mirio-kun!” Comes his father’s booming voice from the small speaker. “It’s good to hear from you.”
“Same here,” Mirio replies, a smile creeping up his face at his father’s familiar drawl. It’s been a while since Tamaki and him have been over for dinner, they should make a point of coming over soon. He mentally schedules in a visit for next Sunday, thinking that they both have that day off work and so they’ll have no reason not to go. “It’s been a while. But why the call? You don’t usually ring me up this late.”
“Oh, you know,” sighs his father. “I just like to check in with you. Make sure everything’s going alright.”
Mirio rolls his eyes at that, thankful that this is only a voice call and not a video chat. He father always worries too much. “I’m fine, to-san. Why wouldn’t I be?”
“I know you are, I know you are.” Replies his father. “But, it doesn’t hurt to make sure.”
“I guess not.” Sighs Mirio in reply, a small smile on his lips.
There’s a beat of silence, before “you’re happy, aren’t you, Mirio-kun?”
“Of course I am, to-san.”
“With your job and everything? With Tamaki-kun?”
“Yes,” answers Mirio without hesitation, curiosity peaked at his father’s tone. “What’s all this about?”
“Oh, it’s nothing. Nothing.” His father answers vaguely. “You know me, ever the worrier.”
Well, that is true.
Mirio lets it go, and they chat amicably about their day as he makes his way down busy city streets home. When he gets to the door to their apartment, he says so to his father, and wishes him a good night before hanging up the phone.
He unlocks the door with his key before entering their modest residence, slipping his shoes off the moment he steps inside. He goes to flick on the light, but he notices a warm glow coming from their dining room, so he doesn’t. Curious, he slowly makes his way over to the source of light, unsure as to why it’s there given that there’s no one home but himself.
Turning the corner, he finds Tamaki, illuminated by the soft glow of candlelight, holding the stems of a variety of brightly colored hyakunichisou.
“Tamaki-kun?” He says, surprised to find him here so early on a patrol night. “What are you doing home so soon?”
“You know,” Tamaki says, his voice a little breathless. “Hyakunichisou seeds are very similar to himawari seeds.”
“Oh,” replies Mirio, not sure where this is all going. His heart is pounding very loudly in his ears. “Did you make those then?” He asks, gesturing to the flowers in Tamaki’s hand.
“Yes,” breathes Tamaki. Pauses for a moment, and Mirio stands still, waiting.
“Mirio-kun,” starts Tamaki, voice suddenly very steady in the darkened room. “I have something I want to ask you.”
And then he slowly sinks down onto one knee.