Kuramochi had been close to canceling. There’s a pile of reading he’s been putting off since last week and an exam he’s yet to study for; then Miyuki called him, told him he was going like it wasn’t a big deal, when he usually never comes along, and Kuramochi wasn’t going to let him look like the boring one. So he puts off his studies in favor of the team’s monthly bar crawl to drink, laugh at his drunk underclassmen, and drink some more.
It’s nine that Friday night when Miyuki meets him and an always reluctant Shirasu at their apartment, and the walk to the first bar of the night is in the chilly Autumn air. Kuramochi shivers, but Miyuki is as content as can be in a washed out jean jacket that might have time-traveled from the ’90s.
They talk about everything and nothing until Shirasu dives into the thought he’s had since Miyuki called him, “Miyuki, I’m surprised you had to convince Kuramochi to come out tonight.”
“I have my reasons,” Miyuki answers breezily.
Kuramochi does not like the sound of that and narrows his eyes, “What the hell are you up to?”
“Nothing! Can’t a guy go out and have a good time?”
“But you don’t go out,” Shirasu supplies.
Kuramochi rightfully adds: “And you’re the biggest lightweight.”
The entire team had learned that Miyuki and alcohol will never be Sympatico; one drink is enough to have Miyuki flushed, and two drinks have him hungover the next morning. It’s funny, really, and kind of fitting.
Miyuki pouts at the smirk Shirasu sends him and Kuramochi’s cackle.
“I prefer to watch the chaos unfold, anyway,” Miyuki recovers with a devious grin, and Kuramochi rounds on him with a few choice words.
They’re down a block from the bar Jun’s picked out when they spot Yui and Sachiko just up ahead. Shirasu extracts himself from their pointless banter to catch up with the girls, probably delighted in the change of company when he and Miyuki are insufferable together. Kuramochi notes the subtle fondness in Shirasu’s mannerisms when he talks to Yui.
Briefly, he wonders, if he’s that subtle or leaning more toward obvious...
Miyuki follows his line of sight, “You noticed, too?”
“What an intelligent response, Kuramochi!”
“Shut up,” He groans, looking over at Miyuki. “Noticed what?”
Miyuki jerks his head over to the other three, “Shirasu and Yui.”
“Oh, yeah.” Kuramochi agrees blandly, shoving his hands into the pockets of his jeans.
There’s a lapse of silence between them after the observation’s made. Kuramochi watches Shirasu again as they shuffle down the busy sidewalk, notices how effortless it is for Shirasu to talk to Yui. If only he could breeze through conversations and flirtatious advances with the guy that has him equal parts scared and turned on, but Kuramochi lacks some serious graces in that department.
The breeze picks up again and his shoulders hunch, “Is Ryou-san coming?” He hopes the question comes off as casual he thinks he sounds.
Though nothing ever gets past Miyuki, who’s smug grin has him regret asking, “Why’re you asking me?”
“Because you’re his roommate!”
Miyuki’s knowing chuckle is like nails on a chalkboard, “I don’t keep tabs on him.”
Kuramochi rolls his eyes, shoves his hands deeper into his pockets, “Whatever.” Wishful thinking on his part for expecting Miyuki to give him a straight-forward answer.
Up ahead, Shirasu and the girls have made it to the entrance of the bar, and he can hear the noise from inside trickle out onto the sidewalk: laughter, music, and Jun’s voice, without a doubt.
“He’s here tonight,” Miyuki finally answers, and Kuramochi sucks in a sharp breath.
And Miyuki’s not lying, because as soon as Kuramochi steps inside the crowded bar, his eyes immediately find pink hair that’s luminescent under the bar’s neon lighting. Kuramochi recognizes the familiar flop of his stomach and rising pulse, and it vaguely makes him feel like one of the cliche protagonists in Sawamura’s shoujo manga.
“I need a drink,” Is what he musters.
Kuramochi gets pulled into their group of seniors with loud greetings and a shot of something that already has his liver crying. The flutter in his stomach vanishing with the warm liquor and beer that he’s ordered. Jun’s already animated and flushed and hanging off of Tetsu like they’re at the second bar already as more of the team gathers and contributes to the impending chaos.
When the shot of liquor from earlier finally enters his system, and Kuramochi works up the nerve to greet Ryousuke, the real chaos arrives, “This Sawamura Eijun has arrived!” Kuramochi hears from the front of the bar.
“Sawamura!” Jun growls, “You’re late!”
“I’m sorry, Spitz-senpai!” Sawamura yells, even though he’s maneuvered through the crowd and standing in their space. “We got lost!”
“No, you got us lost, moron!” Kanemaru comes from behind him with a scowl, and naturally, Toujou is in tow with his arm hooked around Kanemaru’s. “It’s your fault we’re late!” Sawamura is gunning to fight Kanemaru on the logistics, but all argument is lost when he spots Chris, stumbling away with that puppy dog look on his face.
Kuramochi snickers into his beer, “Are you on babysitting duty tonight?” He sure as hell doesn’t want to be.
Kanemaru sighs, “Yeah.” The poor bastard needs a drink more than anyone else, “He was pre-gaming back at the dorm.”
“So he’s already drunk,” Toujou confirms his suspicions.
The greeting that Sawamura only saves for Ryousuke rings loudly throughout the bar, and Kuramochi whips his head around. This is his chance, he thinks, rescue Ryousuke from Sawamura’s drunk ass and -
Haruichi pushes through the crowd at just the right moment with an admonishing, “Eijun-kun!”
With the opportunity wasted, Kuramochi curses into his beer and downs it.
The second bar of their crawl is dead before they show up and inject life into the place. Sawamura’s volume is turned up a few more decibels than before, and Tetsu’s already showing strangers photos of the new dog he got with Jun. Kuramochi only wishes he was as drunk as some of his teammates, craves it when he quite literally runs into Ryousuke. It’s not how he was planning or expecting to greet Ryousuke tonight.
He almost spills his second beer when he jumps back to put space between them, only to bump into Miyuki, who’s egging Sawamura on to buy shots for the whole group.
“Shit! Sorry, Ryou-san!” Kuramochi squeaks out.
His heart hammers against his ribcage, unsure if it’s because of their close proximity or that Ryousuke could be royally pissed.
Thankfully, Ryousuke’s drink isn’t all over them or the floor, but he doesn’t look pleased either, “If you’d really like to apologize,” definitely pissed, Kuramochi notes, “you could buy me another drink.”
Ryousuke’s honestly letting him off easy, “Yeah, sure, I can do that. Let me - ”
With how often they go out, Kuramochi effortlessly snags the bartender’s attention and gestures to Ryousuke’s now empty glass that he sets on the bar counter.
“I heard you almost didn’t come tonight,” Ryousuke says as they wait. “That’s rare for you.”
“Oh, yeah, kinda behind on some homework.”
Ryousuke’s voice is calm and calculated when he speaks, a shiver running up Kuramochi’s spine, “Don’t fall behind, Kuramochi.” There’s a threat buried in his words, and now he wishes he had stayed home and got his shit together.
“I’ll - I won’t,” He promises.
The bartender returns with Ryousuke’s drink. It’s a dark liquor poured over ice and screams of Ryousuke’s taste, far more sophisticated than the beers and shots the rest of the team and himself have consumed tonight.
Kuramochi passes Ryousuke his drink and their fingers brush, sending a wave of heat through his body, “Sorry, again.”
“And forgiven, as always,” Ryousuke hums, slipping past him like his presence hasn’t figuratively knocked Kuramochi on his ass.
Whatever the hell that means.
Kuramochi only knows he’s not drunk enough, and the beer itself isn’t going to cut it. He pushes aside Miyuki, who’s succeeded in manipulating Sawamura, to grab one of the shots and chugs.
On his third drink, Kuramochi finally breaks down. He slumps against the bar table he’s sat at, cheek smashed into the cool wood as he watches a bead of condensation fall down the outside of his glass, “Why the hell did you really come out tonight?” His eyes flick over to Miyuki.
Miyuki’s still drinking water, like at the last bar, and he’d prefer to talk to a slightly inebriated Miyuki at this point, “I wanted to get you to five drink Kuramochi.”
“What the hell is five drink Kuramochi?”
“Five drink Kuramochi is a flirt .”
Kuramochi has never considered himself a flirty drunk. Then again, maybe he’s been too drunk in the past to ever remember being a flirt. He only remembers instigating Sawamura to do shots at his drunkest moments.
He frowns, “I’m not a flirty drunk.”
The smile Miyuki flashes at him is all too knowing and devious, “Oh, you are. Five drink Kuramochi tried to cuddle with me once.”
How come no one has ever brought this to his attention?
The bottom of his stomach drops out, “You’re lying.
“Nope!” Miyuki wags a finger at him, “Shirasu has the evidence.”
Kuramochi pushes himself up off the table and scans the bar like his life depends on it. He spots Shirasu still talking to Yui and there’s no way Kuramochi is gonna interrupt that. One day, he’ll get his hands on the evidence, because Kuramochi has a gut feeling that Miyuki isn’t talking out of his ass right now.
He turns back to Miyuki, curious, “Why get me to five drinks?”
The grin drops from Miyuki’s face, “So you can finally confess to Ryou-san.”
“No, I’m not - ” Kuramochi stops himself and reaches for his beer. That’s impossible, whether he’s drunk or sober. He’s never bearing his soul to Ryousuke only to get it crushed, “I’m never planning on it.”
“Why?” Miyuki’s oddly serious.
“Because!” Kuramochi grumbles, taking a hearty drink from his beer and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. “You know why. He’s not gonna go for it.”
“You’d be surprised.”
His face scrunches up, “Stop being so optimistic. It’s not like you and it’s gross.” Though every curious bone in his body forces him to ask: “Did you talk with him?”
Miyuki shrugs, playing with the label of his water bottle, “Kind of. I’m just saying, don’t give up.”
It’s rare for Miyuki to be this honest with him; he wants Kuramochi to be happy, that’s what’s left unspoken between them and his chest tightens up. Kuramochi eyes his half-finished, third beer and resigns himself to get toasted tonight. Fuck it.
“Fine,” He says, downing the rest of his beer. “On one condition.” Miyuki raises his eyebrows expectantly, “Delete the evidence .”
“Never,” Miyuki smirks.
“You’re such a dick.”
“I aim to please,” Miyuki sing-songs. Then he gets the attention of one of the passing waitresses and points to Kuramochi’s empty glass, “He’s gonna ask the devil out, so he needs a refill.”
Somewhere between the third and fourth bar, Kuramochi takes over babysitting Sawamura because Kanemaru is weak for a tipsy, handsy Toujou. He’s not giving the job his full attention when he’s riding the buzz from his last beer and currently on his fifth. His body feels lighter and the edges of his vision are fuzzy.
“Kuramochi-senpai,” Sawamura’s quite literally hanging off of him from where they’re perched at the bar, words slurring together, “we should play darts.” Kuramochi wouldn’t trust Sawamura with darts even when he’s sober.
He playfully knocks his head against Sawamura’s, “You’ll kill someone.”
Kuramochi has enough sense left in him to not argue with a drunk Sawamura, “Whatever, go challenge Furuya or something.”
Sawamura untangles himself from his side, “I’m gonna win, Kuramochi-senpai! I’m gonna win!”
He snorts, wishing he had that level of liquid courage or Sawamura’s general confidence. There’s a lot of yelling when Sawamura bounds over to their seniors and somehow manages to challenge Furuya and simultaneously get Jun on his side. It's a bad idea, Kuramochi thinks, but he doesn't have the sobriety in him to care or stop the impromptu game of darts.
“I thought you were babysitting?”
Kuramochi straightens up at the sound of Ryousuke’s voice and tries to conceal how his body sways from the sudden adjustment, “Ryou-san.” His voice wobbles as he turns to Ryousuke, who somehow manages to make leaning against the bar look so good . It sure sounds like he’s on his fifth drink, “He’ll be fine. Sawamura is - ”
He looks over his shoulder just in time to see Sawamura throw a dart like he does a pitch and Kuramochi’s not exactly sure where it lands.
“You're supposed to hit the board, Sawamura!” Jun barks.
“Is so drunk,” Kuramochi finishes, throwing his head back with a cackle before drinking what remains in his pint glass.
His body warms from the alcohol and Kuramochi knows he’s flushed.
Ryousuke looks at him over the rim of his glass, sipping the same dark liquor from earlier that Kuramochi doesn’t recognize, “Are you drunk?”
Then Kuramochi’s entire body burns under Ryousuke’s full attention, can hear Miyuki’s words from the last bar playing on repeat as he notices how close they are. He doesn’t make a move to put distance between them; instead, Kuramochi studies Ryousuke’s lips and how his new haircut gives him so much more to look at.
“A little…” Kuramochi licks his lips.
“How many have you had?”
“Five,” Thinking it’s safer to not look at Ryousuke, he eyes his empty glass.
It doesn’t take long for him to make the mistake of returning his gaze back to Ryousuke. The rest of the bar fades away, and it’s just him and Ryousuke, and he feels himself scoot closer before he can stop himself. His eyelids droop and the alcohol has his tongue loose, “Hey, Ryou-san…” Kuramochi might regret this in the morning, “Your haircut...I like it.”
It’s even harder to read Ryousuke’s passive face when he’s five drinks in, “I’ve had it for weeks.”
It’s damn frustrating that the two people he’s closest with can’t accept a compliment like a normal person.
Kuramochi swallows and his heart is about to leap out of his chest, “Yeah, but it - it looks good. Really, really good.”
Where Ryousuke’s elbow knocks into his on the bar prickles.
“Anything else you’ve been keeping from me?” Ryousuke tips his head to the side.
He has a mental list of all the things he wants to say to Ryousuke. It’s a long list and gets longer with every passing day when Kuramochi makes flawless plays on the field with Ryousuke, or when Ryousuke lets him ramble on about his major that most people stick their nose up to. He has so much to say but…
You’d be surprised.
But Kuramochi knows exactly what he needs to say, what is more important.
His voice comes out hushed, “I like you too.”
The seconds that pass feel like minutes as Ryousuke stares at him and his confession lingers between them. Then Ryousuke reaches out, and his hand is warm as it settles on the back of Kuramochi’s neck and nudges him closer. Kuramochi lets himself be pulled in (he always does with Ryousuke) until Ryousuke’s lips meet his own.
His body freezes at the contact, surprise overtaking him because Ryousuke is kissing him and it’s everything he’s imagined but only better.
It’s over before he has the time to process all the little details of Ryousuke’s lips.
Kuramochi swears Ryousuke is smiling at him when he pulls away, or maybe he’s completely gone already.
“We’ll talk in the morning,” Ryousuke then smirks as his hand gently slides down the slope of Kuramochi’s jaw, “if you remember, that is.”
He’s left alone thrumming with alcohol and what he can only describe as euphoria.
Kuramochi licks his lips and tastes whiskey; Ryousuke had been drinking whiskey.
Kuramochi wakes up with his mouth as dry as cotton and not in his own bed, but on the couch of Miyuki and Ryousuke’s apartment. His back is screaming in protest, as is his liver, as the beginnings of a headache set in. Like every morning after he gets hammered, Kuramochi tries to convince himself that he’ll never drink again.
He groans, body aching as he sits up and looks around the apartment.
The first thing his eyes latch onto is Ryousuke, who’s watching him from the kitchen table with a mug of coffee and nowhere close to looking as bad as Kuramochi feels.
“Hey…” Kuramochi greets awkwardly.
“You look terrible,” Ryousuke deadpans.
He rubs at the back of his neck, “I feel like shit.” Without a word, Ryousuke stands and shuffles around in the kitchen until he’s in front of Kuramochi with a glass of water. He takes it, downing the water in one go before setting the empty glass on the coffee table, “Thanks.”
Ryousuke stares at him, hands clasped behind his back.
Kuramochi squirms under his gaze, “What?”
“Do you remember last night?”
And just as Kuramochi’s trying to piece together why Shirasu hadn’t helped him home, it hits him like a freight train and his cheeks color. He’d confessed and kissed Ryousuke and lived up to Five Drink Kuramochi just like Miyuki had said. Kuramochi licks his lips, remembering the taste of whiskey.
His mouth is suddenly just as dry as when he’d woke up, “Yeah…”
Ryousuke raises an eyebrow, unimpressed, “You’re not lying, are you?”
“I’d never lie to you, Ryou-san.”
He can’t breathe when Ryousuke steps forward and threads a hand through his hair, thumb dancing along his jaw and Ryousuke’s hand feels just as warm as it did last night. Kuramochi doesn’t need five drinks in him to lean into the touch.
“Good,” Ryousuke’s lips twitch up into a smile as he bends forward, breath smelling of mint as it ghosts over Kuramochi’s lips. “Keep it that way,” And kisses him.
Kuramochi’s definitely drinking again.