“My name is Hamuko Arisato...it’s nice to meet you, Narukami-kun!”
The girl standing before him has a warm smile on her face and in her kind, red eyes. She has her hand held out as a friendly gesture and Yu knows that he’s supposed to take it. The basic social interaction that’s supposed to play out is one he’s familiar with, one he’s mastered, but there’s something about Hamuko he can’t quite put his finger on that’s so, so familiar and yet so so distant. And yet he can’t quite put his finger on how, why, when, if they’ve met, how they have, why he feels like he knows her but why, at the same time, she feels foreign. Something about her feels wrong. Like there’s someone else that’s supposed to be standing in her place.
It’s the last name, for sure. He knows he’s heard it somewhere before but there’s a fog in his brain. Fog that won’t lift no matter how hard he concentrates on his memory and he’s used to fog. Fog is a daily in his life now whether it be the fog in the TV world or the fog he’s constantly had to deal with in his brain on the worst of days. But this fog isn’t like either of those and it irks him, eats away at him. He lifts his hand slightly, fingers twitching. There’s an uncomfortable silence between the thieves, his team, and the girl standing before him and he can tell he’s taken too long. There’s a tinge of guilt in his chest that he can feel very deeply and he feels a gentle but forceful nudge in the ribs. A quick glance to his side reveals Yosuke giving him a concerned look and he nudges his head in Hamuko’s direction. The gesture was unneeded and Yu simply gives him a small nudge of the elbow back before returning his gaze to the crimson eyed girl as he finally opens his mouth to speak.
The silence that surrounded the group is broken with a mix of laughter (both genuine and awkward) and confused mumblings about what he just said was all about. Even with the tension of the social situation gone, the feeling of deja vu doesn’t leave with the silence and it crawls under Yu’s skin, eating away at him after.
An answer doesn’t come to him until later, not too long, luckily, but long enough that frustration and a vague sense of annoyance at himself grew in not being able to place the connection. When they meet S.E.E.S in the third labyrinth things begin to click, though. A group he feels like he’s met before, known in another life or maybe another world? There’s a boy among them, a boy with fluffy dark blue hair that falls over his face in a way that shapes it perfectly and tired but kind grayish blue eyes. Or eye. He can only see one of them with bangs covering the other. Yu’s never been so distracted by a face before. So foreign and yet it feels like he’s studied this face extensively before. It’s the same feeling of familiarity he had meeting Hamuko but with no off feelings about it.
Yu wonders if Hamuko had a similar feeling. The way she and the boy stare at each other makes him feel like she probably does. Tension is laced thick in the air between the established group and the newcomers of S.E.E.S but no one has the heart to interrupt the two. Not even Yu, as much as his brain is yelling otherwise. As much as he wants to run up to that boy and talk to him, he knows that impatience will get him nowhere. They’re a team now, and they’ll have plenty of time to talk to each other. It’s fine. It’s fine. He keeps telling himself it’s fine as he turns his back to the scene before him.
For some reason staring at the boy, the new group’s leader (or one of them at least. He remembers Hamuko claiming she was their leader as well) Yu assumes, makes his heart rate jump. It’s not something he’s used to but it’s not like it’s never happened before but for a stranger… Maybe he’s just desperate to have feelings for someone again. Getting over Yosuke was a feat in of itself and maybe he’s just letting his affections latch onto the first pretty boy to catch his eye.
...That doesn’t do much to explain why he can’t brush off the fact he knows this boy from somewhere, though. It’s intense, like nothing he’s ever felt before.
It makes him feel a little sick, really. He can see Ren giving him a concerned look out of the corner of his eye but he pays no mind to him as he walks off to regroup with some of his friends and have his thoughts turn to something else, even just for a moment.
The boy’s name is Minato Arisato and never before has a name sounded so sweet to say in his mind and it tastes even sweeter coming from his lips. Like the most addicting desert Yu’s ever tasted. A familiar recipe he’s known what feels like forever and yet he doesn’t know Minato.
At least he doesn’t think they know each other.
But he swears he can see the same knowing look in Minato’s eyes when he looks at him.
Ever since Minato’s joined the group, Yu’s found himself in the other boys presence. He doesn’t know where his fascination and feelings from the other stem from. At first he thought it was because they were both wildcards but that can’t just be it. Ren and Hamuko were wildcards too. Yu didn’t feel anything meeting Ren for the first time. Well. He felt a few things, but nothing quite like he did with Hamuko or Minato. Meeting the other S.E.E.S leader at least was able to place why Hamuko had felt so familiar yet so off. She wasn’t Minato, and yet, she was. They weren’t the same person and yet they had the same parents. Filled the same role in S.E.E.S. Had lived such similar yet different lives. Hamuko loved it. Minato was like a brother she never had. On the other hand, Minato seemed almost uncomfortable. But with someone so much more bubbly and outgoing having the same position as him from a different universe, who could blame him. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out she got on better with his team than he did.
Yu wonders if that’s part of the reason Minato hangs around him so much. He can’t bring himself to complain, though.
“Can I ask you something?” Yu looks up from polishing his sword in surprise. Minato isn’t often one to initiate conversation between the two of them. He’s quiet. Quieter than Yu is. All of the wildcards are quiet but Minato the most so. It’s a shame, Yu thinks, because his voice sounds as sweet as his name does.
“Of course. I’ve asked you plenty.”
The response causes a small smile to form on Minato’s face and he twiddles with the cord of his earphones. A common gesture. A nervous tick. Yu’s noticed he does it all the time, especially when he feels unsure about himself or what he wants to say. That last part is mostly just a guess on his part, though. He’s never bothered to ask about it. Sure, he’s close with Minato but he doesn’t want to push him to open up about anything he doesn’t talk about first.
He knows that Minato is unsure in this instance, though. There’s hesitation laced in every move he makes and an anxious look in his eyes as he takes a moment of silence to try to word out what he wants to ask. Yu doesn’t mind being patient, though, letting his gaze fall back down to his sword momentarily. Maybe if he doesn’t look at him some of the pressure will lift away. It’s always helped in his own experience, anyways.
“Have we met before..?” Ah. Minato pulls the trigger on the silent question that’d been lingering between the both of them. What they were both thinking but neither wanted to ask. “I know it sounds strange but...I feel like we’ve met somewhere before. No I...I know we’ve met before. It’s the only way this makes sense…”
Minato trails off and Yu wonders what this “this” he’s referring to is, exactly. If he had to guess he’d say it’s the same feelings Yu has towards him. The familiarity. The way everything about Minato that’s supposed to be brand new feels like something he already knows so thoroughly. The way Minato feels like someone he’s loved in a past life. In a different world.
In another universe.
To be honest, Yu isn’t sure how to respond. This conversation is one he’d tried to play out in his head multiple times to no real success or progress on actually handling it. Then again, he had this problem with all social situations. Conversations weren’t things you could map out like you could a battlefield or a labyrinth. There’s still so much fog in his head. Fog blocking his memories but the more time he spends with Minato the more clear he feels things are, even if it never quite goes away. Maybe they’ve done something before. He’s not entirely sure.
“..I’m glad it wasn’t just me.” He sets his sword down, leaning it carefully against the wall he has his back against. Trying to find a place to be alone, a quiet place, a reclusive place is hard in this theatre in the void. Maybe because it’s so small. Maybe because they have such a large group. It feels like the only moments they get to themselves are when some of the others head into the labyrinths to train. Yu is really glad he’s alone with Minato right now. “I’ve felt it too but...I can’t remember why.”
Silence falls between the two of them, as it usually does, and Minato moves from his chair to sit on Yu’s other side, slowly dragging down against the wall he does until he hits the floor gently. It’s hard not to notice how close they are now. He can feel their shoulders touching and it makes his heart jump the same way it did when he first saw the other boy.
“I’m...glad I got to meet you here. I’m glad that I got to meet you again, I guess.” Minato’s gaze is up towards the ceiling and he brings his knees up to his chest, wrapping his arms around his legs as he does, curling in on himself. There’s something so sad about his voice and Yu can’t figure out why it would be a sad thing. If they really did know each other…
“Being with you here…” Yu starts and he treads carefully as he speaks, looking from the ceiling to looking at Minato as he speaks. He has really pretty eyelashes. They’re long and defined naturally and with his deep blue hair, it makes his eyes stand out. Everything about Minato works together so beautifully. “...It makes me happy. I feel like...like I’ve kept a promise somehow.”
Something about this moment feels so unreal. Unreal in the way everything can feel when you’re around the person you love. Time drags on so, so slowly in an air that’s so comfortable yet, in a way, so tense. He’s not sure when it happens but Minato’s lips taste so sweet against his. Sweet the same way his name sounded. Sweet the same way his voice does. Kissing Minato feels so familiar, like something he’s done hundreds of times before. There’s no clumsiness of a first kiss, which there should be, because this is Yu’s first kiss. Or it’s the first kiss he remembers, at least. Yet their lips move together so effortlessly, in a way that feels so right. Minato leans into him, wrapping his arms around Yu’s neck in a way that feels equally familiar and he reciprocates by cupping Minato’s face with one hand and using the other to tangle up in the back of his hair. It’s just as soft as he thought it’d feel but it comes as no surprise. So familiar but so new.
Moments pass before they pull away. The reality of the kiss so short but it felt like an eternity to Yu. He keeps his face close to Minato as their lips part and he breathes a little heavier than he should be. It’s probably his nerves but Minato’s just as red in the face as he feels and knowing that puts him at ease. Just a little bit anyways.
“Make a new promise for me..?”
There’s a soft urgency in Minato’s voice as he presses their foreheads together, Yu rubbing circles gently onto the soft skin of his cheek.
Anything. Anything. He means it. Yu both doesn’t and does know why but he feels like he would do anything for Minato Arisato, who is so sweet in every aspect.
“..Do that again.”