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It maybe says a little something about him that when Asahi first hears that he’s moving away again after his first year of middle school, the first thing that he thinks of isn’t, but what about my team, and is instead, but what about Kisumi?

It says even more about him that Asahi doesn’t realize what that means until years later.

Asahi isn’t sure why Kisumi is the only one from middle school that he’s kept in contact with, but part of it has to do with how the glue on the stamp barely dries by the time Asahi has a new letter from Kisumi waiting for him in his parents’ mailbox.

He can’t forget about Kisumi the way it’s so easy to forget to reply to Haru and Makoto’s biannual responses, and even easier to just let it go when his letter to Ikuya had come back undeliverable. It’s just inevitable, really, that Kisumi ends up becoming his best friend.

He keeps every letter in a box under his bed, carefully folded and tied off underneath his Pokémon cards and souvenirs from all of the places he’s lived. His sister laughs at him for days when she finds them, even though she’s the creepy one for snooping in his room, and she doesn’t get it anyway. It’s a girl thing or something, the way she replaces her old friends every time they move and doesn’t mention them anymore. Asahi’s not like that. Kisumi isn’t like that, and he won’t be embarrassed about taking better care of letters than his own hair some days.

Asahi, Kisumi writes him a year after he’d left. My parents bought me a cellphone! It’s so I can call them if I need help with Hayato, but he’s so good I don’t think I’ll need it for that. Do you have one yet? It would be nice to call you whenever I want. Or text you.

His number is written at the bottom, along with a few hearts, and Kisumi tends to write in a rounded, curling script that makes Asahi think of his smile, but the kanji are straighter here, like Kisumi made an effort to print as clearly as possible, and it makes Asahi grin.

It takes three weeks, a promise to do dishes every night for the rest of his middle school career, and a smiling lecture on responsibility, but it works.

He has his new phone in his hands for about three seconds before he’s calling Kisumi.

His parents give each other knowing looks over his head, and Asahi huffs at them just enough that they understand he doesn’t appreciate being mocked, thank you, but not enough that they threaten to take his phone away already.

He takes the stairs up to his room two at a time, all too conscious of the dial tone in his ear. Asahi almost trips on his way to his bed after he shuts his door, still not used to the new length in his limbs, so of course, Asahi is letting out a strangled yell right as the line connects.

“Hello?”

Kisumi’s voice is like bells on a windy day. He’s so polite, but Asahi can hear the lilt of confusion in his voice at the way an unknown number has just screamed in his ear like a maniac and, god, he’s missed this.

Kisumi.

Kisumi calls him more often than not, complaining that Asahi’s texts are imprecise, whatever that’s supposed to mean, and it’s not like Asahi isn’t more of a talker anyway.

“I’m going to start a swim club,” he says, grinning into his phone. He’d let himself feel sad about it for a few minutes, until he realized that this was practically what he’d done in Iwatobi, and he can do it again, no sweat.

“That’s so impressive!” Kisumi gushes, and that’s just who he is, lovely and supportive, but it still makes Asahi puff up with pride.

“Yeah, it’ll be a lot of work,” he says, imagining the way Kisumi would nod along if he could see him.

“You could always join the basketball club,” Kisumi says politely, which is the only way Asahi knows he’s joking.

“Kisumi,” he pouts. “There’s no point in joining a basketball club if you’re not in it. Besides, people will join. I have all of these ideas and one of them is gonna work.” The first step is cleaning the pool, because Asahi isn’t afraid of a little hard work, and it’s easier to convince people of the merits of something if they can see the results right away. His middle school friends will join, he thinks. At least enough to be able to form a club, and more if he’s able to find upperclassmen who are interested.

“You haven’t changed at all, have you?”

Asahi doesn’t think he’s imagining the fondness in Kisumi’s voice, and even if he is, Asahi kind of likes the idea of always being this headstrong, so he preens.

Puberty hits Asahi over the head like a sledgehammer.

He’d thought it was bad before, when his limbs seemed to suddenly grow an inch longer in every direction and his vocal cords were doing their best impersonation of a roller coaster in his throat, but apparently, that was just the warm up.

It’s worse for him, unfathomably so, because he starts getting constant, inconvenient erections that have no place being there while he’s in a swimsuit, much less on the phone with his best friend.

Kisumi’s always had a lovely voice, smooth like silk and light as air, but Asahi didn’t react like this before, otherwise he would’ve never agreed to the horrible, life-altering idea of buying a cellphone.

Asahi, Kisumi would greet, and Asahi would immediately have to make an excuse to hang up, despite the fact that Asahi had been the one to call him. His dad starts giving him these sincere, empathetic looks during dinner, and Asahi wants to slam his head through the table.

He’s halfway through stammering out that yes, of course he’d buttdialed Kisumi for the third time this week, and there’s absolutely no way he can talk right now, when Kisumi interrupts him.

“Did I do something?”

Asahi trips over his own tongue at the vulnerability in Kisumi’s voice, and then wants to kick himself for still being aroused.

“No! No, I’m just clumsy lately. New pants too, you know? They keep pressing the buttons—” So dumb. So dumb, “so dumb—I mean—”

“We haven’t talked in a week.”

There’s an undercurrent of anger in Kisumi’s voice, glossing over the hurt, and Asahi winces. If there’s anything that Kisumi doesn’t like, it’s lying, and Asahi has been doing plenty of it. He glances down at the seam of his pants and glares at the ever-present tent there. Well, it’s not like he can exactly tell him the truth.

“I have a girlfriend!” he blurts. The words catch up to him right after and he looks at himself exasperatedly in the mirror and mouths you idiot at his reflection.

“Oh!”

He can’t read anything other than surprise in that one syllable and Kisumi isn’t offering him anything else to work with, so Asahi decides he might as well go all in.

“Yeah, um. I’ve been really busy with...that. And. She gets kind of jealous.” Jesus Christ, Asahi you moron.

Kisumi makes an unimpressed noise. “If she’s not okay with you having friends then she shouldn’t be with you.”

“Right, yeah.” Asahi manages, mortified at this entire conversation.

Kisumi takes his uncharacteristic silence as disagreement and he sighs. “I’m sorry, I just mean that you’re very friendly. That’s not something that someone should be upset about.”

“Yeah, I know, yeah. I, uh. I was thinking about breaking up with her anyway.”

“You don’t have to just because of what I said, Asahi.” Kisumi says, but he also sounds a little pleased and that makes this whole conversation ten times easier now.

A week later, Asahi tells Kisumi he broke up with his fake-girlfriend. It takes him longer than that to grow out of his… problem, but the fear of having another conversation like that one makes it much easier than before to just grin and bear it.

Asahi’s eyes are blurring over from looking at his history notes for the last few hours, so when Kisumi’s ringtone jolts him out of his pained slump at his desk, he takes it as a sign that he’s done for the night.

“Yo,” he greets.

He hears Kisumi take a shaky breath, wet and hesitant, and the pause in itself would be enough to make Asahi take notice, but then Kisumi lets out a sob, and Asahi rockets out of his chair and starts to pace.

“Kisumi,” Asahi blurts out, panicked. “Kisumi, what’s wrong? What do you need me to do?” Bag. He needs to find a bag. He dumps out his school bag, papers flying, and stares at the empty inside before throwing it aside. He doesn’t need a bag—just needs his wallet to buy the next train ticket and he’s good. “I’ll be right there.”

Kisumi laughs, wet and hesitant, but still there, and it eases the adrenaline jackknifing through Asahi’s veins. “Asahi, you’re always so thoughtful.”

The raw ache in Kisumi’s voice makes Asahi drop back down on his bed like all of his strings have been cut. He wraps both hands around the phone, cradles it to his ear the way he wants to cradle Kisumi’s face in his palms. “What happened?” he asks, soft.

“I—Hayato, he,” Kisumi sniffles. “He almost drowned.”

A chill runs down Asahi’s spine. “What? Is he okay?”

“I didn’t watch him. I—it’s my fault,” Kisumi sobs. Each raspy inhale makes Asahi clench his fist tighter at his own helplessness. “He won’t look at me.”

“Kisumi, no—”

“What if I’d lost him?”

“Kisumi,” Asahi tries, but Kisumi is gasping in air between wet sobs, and Asahi is an emotional guy; he knows when it’s just best to cry some things out. “That’s okay. That’s okay. I’m here. I’m not leaving you.”

Kisumi cries and Asahi talks uselessly, but Kisumi called him for a reason, so he keeps talking until his throat gets dry and Kisumi cries himself to sleep.

High school presents a new challenge that Asahi isn’t prepared for: dating.

Not him, he’s practically running himself into the ground trying to get another swim club started—just his fucking luck—and he doesn’t have time to woo a partner when he’s trying to captain a team as a first year.

Kisumi though, Kisumi seems like he has plenty of time.

And here’s the thing. Asahi doesn’t have a problem with the guys Kisumi talks about, because none of them ever stick around long. He’s just not exactly a big fan.

“It’s just a little fun, Asahi,” Kisumi says, when Asahi may or may not make a comment about how Kisumi doesn’t have to have a date every weekend.

“Yeah, I know,” Asahi sighs, resting his arms against the back of the park bench he’d taken over once Kisumi’s ringtone had gone off and the rest of his teammates had given him sly, knowing looks and promised to save him a spot at the ramen shop they were heading to. “I just don’t think you need to waste your time with these guys.”

Kisumi laughs and when Asahi closes his eyes, it’s like Kisumi is right there. “It’s one night a week where someone takes care of me instead. Now, which one looks better?”

Asahi’s phone pings with two picture messages immediately, just like always, and Asahi wants to bite his own tongue off thinking about how Kisumi is dressing up for someone else. The first one is a modest lilac pullover that makes Kisumi’s eyes shine, and the second one is a loose mint green shirt that shows off his collarbones and makes him look like cotton candy. Both of them are unfairly good, because Kisumi is gorgeous and Asahi would be shamefully attracted to him even if he were wearing a Gudetama suit, but it's Kisumi so of course he dresses like every romantic fantasy Asahi has ever had. Kisumi’s always dressed conservatively, layer after layer that makes him soft and approachable and still somehow like he’s walking right out of a magazine and Asahi just wants to wrap him up and kiss him until he can’t breathe.

He looks to the sky for guidance or to strike him with lightning, he doesn’t care.

“First one.” And then, because he’s still a moron apparently. “Your eyes look nice.”

There’s a pause, and then Kisumi huffs out an amused sounding breath. When he speaks, his words are soft. “You think so?”

Asahi fidgets, running a hand through his hair even though no one can see his discomfort. “Yeah, this guy better compliment them or else he’s a loser.”

Kisumi laughs. “I’ll keep that in mind. I have to go now or else I’ll miss my train.” A shuffle, a breath, and then, “Thank you, Asahi.”

He has to fight down the way his stomach flutters.

“Anytime.”

Point is, Kisumi’s dates are in his periphery; always something he’s aware of, but never something he lets himself get stuck on after the fact.

Then, Kisumi runs into Makoto.

Asahi’s half-listening, lounging in bed, lulled by the smooth cadence of Kisumi’s voice after a hard practice. It’s routine by now, to call Kisumi when he gets home, and Kisumi answers without fail every time. Asahi’s used to talking, excited by his ideas and having someone to listen to them, but today he’s content listening to Kisumi, closing his eyes and picturing him right there.

“I saw Makoto today.”

“Who?” Asahi hums.

“Tachibana Makoto,” Kisumi says, and Asahi can hear his pout through the phone. “From your middle school swim team.”

Asahi grins, still lazy and fond. “Yeah? How’s he doing?”

“You should have seen him, Asahi,” Kisumi sighs—longingly—and Asahi shoots up quick enough to make his head spin. He knows that tone. He hears it in the way his sister talks about her new college boyfriend, and he doesn’t like it in Kisumi’s voice one bit.

“He’s so handsome. Like my own storybook prince with shoulders like a firefighter.”

Asahi tries not to grit his teeth, all of his previous lethargy gone. “Could’ve guessed that part.”

Kisumi hums, and there’s a shuffling sound like he’s turned over in bed. “He’s teaching Hayato how to swim.”

Asahi swallows against the lump in his throat that tries to worm it’s way up at the soft sound of Kisumi’s voice.

“He asked me why Hayato is scared of water. He… he’s really trying to understand him. I haven’t met many people who are so great with children.”

I am, Asahi thinks, but if there were a worse time to put himself out there, he’d be hard pressed to see when that would be. Kisumi is smitten.

“I told him what happened,” Kisumi says quietly, nonchalant in the way that is painfully deliberate and Asahi’s breath catches. Kisumi hasn’t brought it up ever since that night, skirting around any and all of Asahi’s attempts at follow up. It means something—something that Asahi doesn’t like to think about—that Kisumi shared this secret with Makoto instead.

He’s silent for too long, but Asahi can’t make himself say anything, there aren’t even any words stuck in his throat because he has no fucking clue what to say.

“Oh well,” Kisumi sighs out. “I don’t have a chance anyway. Him and Haru are as close as ever.”

“Nanase?”

“Hm? Yeah, Nanase Haruka. Still has Makoto wrapped around his finger. Why are all the good ones taken?”

And Kisumi doesn’t mean it, not in the way Asahi feels it like the words are a physical blow, but it still helps drive the point home.

Asahi finds out that Kisumi loses his virginity by accident.

His phone pings as he’s eating breakfast, an innocuous little sound that Asahi doesn’t think twice about before flipping open his phone.

I had a good time last night ;) you forgot your wallet this morning

Asahi promptly chokes.

HUH? He texts back and even Kisumi, with all of his complaints about Asahi’s texting habits, can’t say that this text isn’t clear.

Ah, Asahi! I’m so sorry. That was for Asami-kun, I didn’t mean to send that to you >.<

Who’s Asami? He has a novel’s worth of questions waiting to be answered, and he’s not entitled to asking any of them, but this one sneaks out before Asahi can reel it back in.

I’ve been on a few dates with him—and that answers everything and nothing—we’re just having some fun.

Asahi’s gut drops at the word fun. It’s not new for Kisumi to call his dates that, but the context—last night, this morning, fun—makes Asahi’s eyes water and he has to blink them away quickly before his parents notice.

Did he treat you right?

He doesn’t mean to send that question either, but he needs to know. The thought of Kisumi with anyone in the first place makes Asahi’s skin crawl with jealousy, and it’s even worse now, knowing that someone else has seen Kisumi flushed and dazed. If Asahi has to live with this knowledge, he at least has to make sure that it was everything that Kisumi deserved.

He did, Asahi <3

Despite himself, he smiles at the heart, because it’s for him and not this Asami guy, who’s clearly the luckiest bastard in the world, but still only the guy who Kisumi’s around for fun, and even though he’d had a brief fleeting moment with Kisumi, Asahi’s the one who Kisumi’s kept around.

So maybe Kisumi has a point about this “imprecise texting” thing.

“I sent you a text saying I’ll be back in March, didn’t I?” Asahi asks, leaning against the wall of the restaurant.

“What, March? You wrote in your text that you’ll be back in May!” There’s a pout in Kisumi’s voice and Asahi feels like an idiot.

“Seriously?”

“Don’t tell me you made a typo? I did think it was weird that you were promising to go back at such an odd time, Asahi.”

“Kisumi, you bastard. If you thought it was weird then you should have told me then! I bought you some Kidibango as well as some other things for you,” Asahi complains, and he’s abruptly grateful that he walked outside so that his teammates can’t see him blush all the way to the roots of his hair. He’s so obvious. So obvious and desperate.

“Ah, you got me sweets?” Any hint of reprimand is gone and Asahi’s shoulders relax automatically.

“Yeah, a few,” he grumbles.

“You’re so kind,” Kisumi says, and from anyone else it’d be teasing, but Kisumi doesn’t do that to him. “You can give them to me next time I see you. Until then, you’ll never guess who I saw today.”

And Asahi still wants to kick himself for making such a stupid mistake, but listening to Kisumi talk about his day in that soft way of his is almost enough to make up for not seeing him in person.

When they finally do meet, it doesn’t go exactly the way that Asahi had expected it to.

Kisumi’s late, which Kisumi blames on Asahi’s texting again, but Asahi doesn’t care because Kisumi is all long legs and sparkling eyes as he runs up to him and Asahi would wait days for him. When Asahi stands up to greet him, he’s a little surprised at how tall Kisumi is in person, but even more surprised that there’s less of a difference in their heights than he thought.

“Asahi,” Kisumi says, a little wide-eyed as he gives Asahi an obvious once-over.

Asahi reaches up to run a hand through the back of his hair self-consciously and he can feel the tips of his ears go red at the way Kisumi’s eyes track the way his bicep flexes.

“Oh, you’ve grown,” Kisumi downright purrs, and good god, Asahi is just a man. He can’t possibly be expected to handle being on the receiving end of what can only be described as a smoulder.

“Uh,” is all he can manage to squeak out before Kisumi pulls back to laugh, open and bright.

“It’s good to see you,” Kisumi says, light and sweet and containing none of the heat from earlier. He comes in for a hug and Asahi wraps his arms around him and pushes down his disappointment as they break apart.

Meeting Hayato again is something that would be more stressful if Asahi wasn’t incredible with children.

“Hi,” Asahi greets. He squats down to Hayato’s height and grins at the way Hayato grips at the fabric by Kisumi’s knees and peeks out behind his leg. “You’ve gotten so big! I hear you’re a really good swimmer now.” Hayato’s fingers relax the slightest bit, and his face pulls away from Kisumi’s leg to give Asahi a shy, pleased look. “I swim too, see?” He twists so that Hayato can see the back of Asahi’s jacket and when he turns back, Hayato is at Kisumi’s side, holding his hand, but very much not hiding anymore.

Asahi glances at Kisumi and he preens at the flushed smile splitting Kisumi’s cheeks. “Hey Hayato,” he says. “How about we go swim together sometime? All three of us? We can teach Kisumi.” He winks and Hayato’s cheeks turn red as Kisumi giggles.

“Does that sound like fun, Hayato?” Kisumi asks, cradling the back of Hayato’s head.

Hayato nods and Asahi grins.

“Next time, yeah? Want ice cream this time? My treat.”

Hayato brightens and turns to Kisumi for confirmation. At Kisumi’s nod, Hayato smiles and Asahi is so gone for this entire family.

On the way back, fingers sticky with ice cream, Hayato’s little hand slips into his and Asahi feels so fond all of a sudden. Hayato won’t look at him, suddenly shy after a day of talking Asahi’s ear off, but still so brave for reaching out.

Kisumi beams at him and Asahi feels himself grin back as they both lift Hayato up by the arms and start to swing him between their bodies.

Sometimes Asahi feels stupid for thinking of Kisumi as the love of his life, but times like this, when they’re so incandescently happy together, he thinks about how he’d give anything to be part of this family.

Asahi gets back from his orientation at Hidaka University late enough that it’s almost early. He’s travel sore and tired from accidentally falling asleep on the train, and he falls face first into his pillow the moment his door shuts.

It’s instinct to reach for his phone, and he’s surprised when he sees a missed call and the chiming red icon of a voicemail.

Oh. Asahi. I thought you would answer. A laugh. I didn’t have a message planned.

Shit, Asahi thinks, tugging his suddenly too tight collar. There’s a raspiness to Kisumi’s voice that’s never there; a combination of sleep and something that makes Asahi burn.

Kisumi’s voice is slurred over the line, and for a second, Asahi wonders if Kisumi is drunk, but no, it’s just the way Kisumi sounds whenever they stay up too late in the night, back when they used to talk to each other in hushed laughter so they didn’t wake their parents up.

Asahi, I wish you were here. He hears a rustle and the hush of smooth sheets against even smoother hands. The image of it comes fast and inescapable and suddenly all Asahi can see is disheveled pink waves splayed haphazardly across a bed and half lidded eyes sparkling like amethysts in the dark.

I have practice in the morning, so I shouldn’t be up so late. I wanted to hear your voice. It’s so easy to connect the picture in his mind to the voice in his hear, and Asahi digs his fingers against the inside of his knee so that he doesn’t let them drift between his thighs.

I miss you.

Asahi groans, curling over to rest his forehead on his knees.

If you’d like to save this message, press one. If you’d like to delete it, press two. If you’d like to play this message again, press three.

His jaw is sore from clenching it, and he may have bruises on his leg from where he’s been digging his fingers in. Kisumi’s face flashes behind his eyes.

Asahi presses three.

University feels like coming home.

He has less free time than ever with swimming practice and studying and trying not to punch Ikuya’s new best friend repeatedly in the face, but there’s something about knowing that he’s here in Tokyo for the next few years no matter where his parents end up moving. His friendship with Makoto and Haru falls back into place like there was never any time missing—except there is, there must be, based on the way Makoto rests a hand on the small of Haru’s back when they’re in a crowd and the way Haru hooks his foot around Makoto’s ankle whenever they all ride the subway together.

He’s a little embarrassed about his jealousy from a few years back, especially now that he can see how Makoto looks at Haru like he’s the sun.

And then there’s Kisumi.

Kisumi’s like a puzzle piece slotting right back into all of Asahi’s missing spots. There’s something about the way that they’re just a quick train ride away from each other now that eases something wild in Asahi’s chest. Kisumi fits right at his side and it feels symbolic how they sit across from Haru and Makoto, who are the only people Asahi would unironically call soulmates.

It feels like he’s been given a second chance. All that’s left is mustering up the courage to use it.

Maybe it runs in the family, Asahi thinks, once Tsukushi is settled down for a nap on Kisumi’s shoulder.

Kisumi’s hair is sticking up in all of the places that Tsukushi pulled at it with sticky fingers, and Asahi can’t help but smile into his palm at the soft look on Kisumi’s face.

Kisumi pokes the cheek not supported by Asahi’s propped up arm—which still smarts a little from Tsukushi’s tiny, yet powerful kick—and giggles quietly. “Are you sure you’re alright, Asahi?”

Asahi snorts, and just to make Kisumi laugh, says, “You think a toddler could take me down? Not a chance.”

“I remember when Hayato was this small,” Kisumi says, gaze far away.

“Was he a future footballer too?” Asahi jokes, but his voice is far too soft as he wiggles Tsukushi's tiny foot.

Kisumi’s smile spreads. “No, he was always polite. Even as a baby. I don’t think he ever screamed, just cried big fat tears. Sometimes I never knew what he wanted.”

“I never know what Tsukushi wants. Some uncle I am. We’d make pretty bad parents,” Asahi jokes, and stretches his arms back behind his head.

Kisumi looks at him from under his lashes. “I don’t know. I think we’d be pretty good.”

Asahi blinks, the words rushing over him and then his face burns up. “Oh, ah. Maybe.”

Kisumi laughs at him, which is just par for the course, and turns back to watch Tsukushi sleep.

Is this how Kisumi feels when Asahi and Hayato get along? Is it just the family connection and the way all babies make people more approachable?

No, he thinks, tracking the way Kisumi brushes back a lock of hair on Tsukushi’s forehead. It’s a little more than that.

“Makoto. I need your help.”

Makoto looks startled for a second, pen slipping over his notes before his paternal instinct kicks in. “Of course. What’s wrong?” He even puts his pen down and tucks his glasses into his collar, giving Asahi his undivided attention.

Asahi could kiss him. If there’s anyone who can help, it’s Makoto. He’d seen how Makoto was head over heels with Haru back in middle school, and it’s only gotten more obvious now that they’re actually together. This is a man who knows Asahi’s plight and has overcome it.

“How’d you ask Haru out?”

“Ah,” Makoto blushes and rubs self-consciously at the back of his head. “Actually, I never asked. Haru, ah—Haru asked me on a date.”

Asahi smacks his head against the table. Of course. “Oh.”

“Are you trying to ask Kisumi on a date?”

Asahi cringes. “Am I that obvious?”

He can’t see it, but he can hear the way Makoto smiles. “Well, yes.”

“No,” Asahi groans and immediately wants to hide under the table.

“I think Kisumi would say yes if you asked him.”

Asahi whips his head up. Makoto’s just smiling at him in his Makoto way, slightly amused but no less caring for it. Asahi’s heart beats harder than usual. “Really? He’d say yes?”

“Yes.” Makoto nods. “I’m sure of it.”

Asahi’s pulse races at the thought, excited and nervous, because it’s been so long. His phone pings in his pocket, like a sign from whichever fool has any investment in Asahi’s love life, and he knows it’s Kisumi the way he knows he’ll never stop feeling this way about him.

Asahi takes a breath. Fuck if he’s gonna give up now.

“Will you go on a date with me?”

Asahi’s hand is sweating around the tiny bouquet of flowers he’d gotten from the market and he’s kind of afraid he’ll end up dropping them if Kisumi just keeps staring back at him like that. It feels like a challenge almost, even though that’s definitely not Kisumi’s style, but he doesn’t drop his gaze anyway. He’s blushing up to the roots of his hair, but Asahi knows what he wants, and he’s never going to get it if he keeps sitting around and pining like this.

His hand shakes, jostling the flowers he’d shoved in Kisumi’s face, and that finally draws Kisumi’s attention away from Asahi. He feels like he can breathe again when Kisumi reaches up to take the flowers from him, but he doesn’t know what to do with his hands anymore now that they’re empty so he shoves them in the pockets of his jacket.

Kisumi’s staring at the flowers now, and it’s better than the unblinking gaze at Asahi’s face, but the silence is unnerving.

“I didn’t know which ones to get,” Asahi rambles. “The lady at the store asked me to tell me about who I was getting them for and said these kind of describe my… feelings.” More specifically, she had said, That girl has no clue how much she’s loved does she? Well, this will help her figure it out, just you wait and see, and Asahi had nodded dumbly as she dragged him to the register.

A pale hand reaches up to brush a finger against one of the white petals, and then, like a light bursting through the clouds, Kisumi smiles. “Daisies?”

Asahi shrugs. “If that’s what they’re called, yeah. I didn’t ask. Just kinda trusted her and bought them. She sounded like, uh, she sounded like she understood what I wanted.” He meets Kisumi’s eyes. “I know I’m not the best at this, but you’re really important to me and I—I’d like to show you that. If you want.”

“You like men?”

“I like you.” And he doesn't mean it like that. Like he's in denial about anything. It's just that Kisumi has always been the first and last thing on his mind that there's no room for anyone else like that with all of the feelings inside Asahi's skin.

Asahi’s breath catches as Kisumi steps forward to lay a hand on Asahi’s chest. Kisumi’s smile is bright and his cheeks are pink as he says, “I would love to, Asahi.”

Kisumi, Asahi soon realizes, is a goddamn menace.

Kisumi’s attractive and he knows it, always finding ways to knock Asahi’s stupid brain off track just by sending him a coy look here, a flirty wink there. He was a flirt before they started dating, and now it just never ends, which is both a blessing and a curse because Asahi isn’t the smoothest of operators.

Asahi can barely keep his hands to himself once he realizes that he doesn’t have to anymore, and Kisumi always seems very appreciative of that lack of self-restraint, but he feels practically drugged.

He’s pretty sure Makoto and Haru notice—or, at least Makoto does. Asahi can’t read Haru half the time, and he’s never sure if his penetrating stare is because he can tell that Asahi wants to lick at a stray curl of hair sticking to Kisumi’s neck or if he’s just daydreaming.

For all that Kisumi initiates things, he doesn’t escalate it. He could slip his way into Asahi’s lap at Asahi’s apartment, curling his arms around Asahi’s shoulders, but Asahi’s the one who has to surge up to take Kisumi’s mouth in a kiss. Or they could be out getting lunch and Kisumi would knock their knees together and look at him with those eyes, but Asahi’s the one to link their hands and kiss his fingers.

It would make a lesser man self-conscious, but after the third time he feels Kisumi smile against his lips, Asahi realizes what’s really happening; Kisumi likes being chased.

That works out fine for Asahi, because some days he thinks he can’t breathe if he doesn’t touch Kisumi, feel the dips of muscle between his shoulder blades and the soft plush of his mouth. So he reaches and follows and begs for Kisumi with his hands and Kisumi opens up for him like a flower every time.

Every single inch of Kisumi radiates sex appeal on normal days and Asahi has a hard enough time holding himself together then, but now it’s practically criminal how Kisumi glistens under a thin sheen of sweat, eyes hazy and bright as his body seems to press itself to all of Asahi’s sensitive spots at once. Fuck, Asahi is going to come in two minutes flat.

“Is it good?” Asahi gasps, resting his head against Kisumi’s chest.

Kisumi’s only response is this downright sinful moan and his hands come down to thread themselves languidly through Asahi’s hair. “Asahi.”

Everything feels like it’s bathed in molasses, slow and thick and addictive. Kisumi’s body is letting him in so easily and he’s practically melting into the sheets, like Asahi’s cock has eased what little tension was left in his body.

Asahi moves his hips in a slow grind, pressing deeper without pulling back, and Kisumi’s neck folds back on a breathless sigh. All that pale, gorgeous skin spread out, Asahi can’t resist pressing his lips against Kisumi’s neck, just to breathe hotly against the skin and feel the damp heat.

What do you want me to do? He wants to ask. He’ll do anything to make this good for Kisumi. Asahi doesn’t even need to come (god he hopes he lasts); all that matters is what Kisumi wants. Whatever will make Kisumi gasp and shudder and fall apart under him until all that he remembers is Asahi’s face.

But Kisumi moves for him, arms falling from where they were carding gently through Asahi’s hair onto the bed beside his head. His bottom lip is wet and his eyes are burning and Asahi can’t demand anything of him right now.

He braces himself on his elbows and watches the muscles in Kisumi’s face shift as Asahi pulls back in a slow, agonizing slide. Asahi brushes a piece of hair off of Kisumi’s forehead just to see him better, the way his eyebrows sinch together in the barest of ways. Kisumi doesn’t move, doesn’t shift his hips downward to meet Asahi’s forward thrust and Asahi couldn’t care less.

Pillow princess, he’d heard once. It’d been said in a derogatory way, like that was the worst thing a person could be in bed, but Asahi can’t think of why he’d want Kisumi to be anything else. Kisumi deserves it all anyway, Asahi wants to do this for him. He reaches up to lace their fingers together as he sets a rhythm and revels in the way Kisumi’s eyelashes flutter.

Asahi has thought that Kisumi would be flirty and coy and playful, and maybe he will be in the future, once this isn't so new and so overwhelming, but it’s like a gift, seeing how once they're joined together, it’s like all his strings are cut and he can just be.

Kisumi’s hair sticks to his cheeks and Asahi still feels awkward just watching the way the morning sun plays across Kisumi’s cheekbones, but he can’t stop. This is the kind of thing he imagined back when Kisumi used to call him before class, voice sleep-thick and warm. He would’ve paid money to see Kisumi like that and now the allure hasn’t worn off even after being together for a few months.

He brushes a lock of hair behind Kisumi’s ear and lets the back of his fingers follow the curve of his jawline in a move he’s wanted to make hundreds of times in the last four years.

His phone rests against his bedside, but that’s fine. The only person he’d want to talk to right now is right here.