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seasons change, but we stay the same

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i.

Wamu watches the ceiling fan whip at the humid air of his apartment with a detached disinterest, his arms spread out on either side of his body in an attempt to minimize skin on skin contact. The first days of summer were absolutely brutal and its oppressive heat sucked out any motivation he might have had to do anything practical like..go outside. Or something. His phone has been vibrating almost nonstop since noon with texts from Miki to coax him out of the all encompassing warmth of his apartment into the veritable hellfire that was the outside world. A part of him wants to peel himself off of the cool tile floor and drink cold boba with his friends, but that part is severely outweighed by his need to keep some semblance of body temperature.

He wonders if Gabi went with them. Maybe he should check his phone..

Slowly, Wamu rolls over onto his left side to grab his phone – at fifteen percent due to its incessant vibrating and the heat – and blinks owlishly at the sheer number of line notifications. He didn’t realize how people who were together could spend so much time texting each other, though he knew he was guilty of it too, and quickly marked the group chat’s two-hundred-and-forty-two notifications so he could focus on the meager twenty-five direct messages instead. He sends the customary replies – ‘you look like you’re having fun!’ ‘sorry I couldn’t be there!’ – before tilting his head thoughtfully at the simple i’ll be at ur door in twenty from Gabi. Wamu checks the time the message was delivered and groans when he realizes fifteen minutes had passed.

got it , he texts back before flattening back out on the floor. Gabi has a key. Wamu doesn’t need to move for a while, yet. There’s ample opportunity to play a few rounds of bubble shooter before Gabi kicks his door down.

Wamu’s halfway through level 189 when he hears the key turn in his deadbolt and he lazily turns his head to the side to watch as Gabi’s worn timberland boots make themselves at home in the caddy by the door. He’s wearing patterned socks with various types of pokéballs on them and Wamu finds the stark contrast between Gabi’s well cultivated ganster exterior and his expertly hidden nerd artifacts endearing. He pushes himself up on his elbows and offers his best friend a lazy grin.

“Hey, did you have fun with the cheer squad?” he teases, head lolling on his shoulders. Gabi snorts at him, padding silently over the floor and offering a cardboard tray with two large cups of passion fruit boba – with the little mango bubbles – out to him. “Oh, you’re the fucking best .”

Gabi grins at Wamu, sitting on the floor beside him before reaching over to grab the remote to turn on Wamu’s boosted television. He has limited cable, but it’s all the good channels and access to all of Ryo’s streaming subscriptions. “They were on Ryo’s dime, like always, but I couldn’t hang out with the cheer squad and not get something for my best boy.”

Wamu has actively smother the urge to say “that’s gay ”, because it is, but he’s startingly aware that he doesn’t..mind. Not really. He doesn’t have the mental capacity to think about how much he would like to be with Gabi in the same way that Ryo and Akira are. In the same way that Miki and Miko are. That’s a thought for another day when it’s not as suffocatingly hot outside. So, he settles for affectionately bumping his shoulder against Gabi’s and saying, “Thanks, man.”

“Any time.”

ii.

Fall comes as a welcome balm after the oppressive summer heat, and Wamu can finally turn off the ceiling fan until the warmer seasons start again. He’s a modern man of mixed race in Japan, he doesn’t have any real fall rituals to ring in the season, but he does miss the apple picking adventures of his childhood in America. He’s tempted to google if there are any orchards in the area where he can collect apples to make stupid things like pies or tarts when Gabi knocks on the door before turning his key in the lock. Wamu doesn’t even know why he knocks at this point though he assumes that it’s ingrained politeness from before Gabi decided to be a soundcloud rapper.

“Happy fall, shithead.”

Gabi grins, yanking his timberlands off and throwing his hands up in the air. “Happy fall, ugly. I brought Sapporo and mochi and you, my guy, need to fucking clean.” Wamu is very much down for a nice, relaxing evening with his best friend, some beers, and their favorite treat but he can’t help but physically reel back when Gabi suggests that they spend the evening doing something as grossly domestic as cleaning.

Besides, the place isn’t even all that bad. “What do you mean I ‘need to fucking clean’?” Wamu can’t help it if his voice is a little accusatory, he’s takes absolute pride in the organized chaos of his apartment. It’s his place and he’s allowed to keep it however he likes.

“Have you looked at this cesspool lately? Not to sound like a needy girlfriend or anything, but I do not wanna spend time in this nasty ass shit. We clean up, drink a little, then gourge ourselves on mochi before ordering KFC. Sound like a plan?” Gabi’s voice is as pleasant as ever and Wamu can’t help but want to do everything he says. Even if everything he says means that Wamu has to end up cleaning his...admittedly very dirty apartment.

He gives the living room and the kotatsu that takes up the majority of it a cursory glance, wincing a little when he realizes how many emper beer bottles, exhausted roaches of joints long ago smoked, and candy wrappers litter the floor and any other available surface. The piles of clothes, both clean and dirty, are almost as bad and Wamu is loathe to admit that he..definitely needs to spruce the place up a little bit. “So, say I agree that I need to clean everything up… You’re definitely helping, right?”

Gabi gives him a look that means he thinks Wamu’s name is in the dictionary under moron as he fishes the bottle opener on his keys out to start opening the beers in his six-pack. “I’m definitely helping. There’s no way you’d keep the motivation to clean this shit up by yourself.” It’s true, that Wamu will admit, and he takes the open bottle from Gabi’s waiting hand.

Cleaning up all of the trash from the floor and furniture takes them most of the day, which Wamu adamantly considers to be the biggest waste of time since having to spend hours of his life listening to one of Ryo’s ranfs on Peruvian history. When they can finally sit down on the roof of his apartment building, Wamu finds it a little easier to breathe. It eases his mind to know that when they’re done up here, he can go back to a clean and comfortable apartment.

The moon is full when he looks up at it and he only cares because looking at the moon means he doesn’t have to look at how pretty the moonlight makes Gabi’s twists and flawless jawline look. If he had bothered  to look at Gabi, though, he’d find that Gabi didn’t give a single fuck about the moon. Wamu was a better sight to him, anyway. Always would be.

iii.

Gabi likes to tell himself that he only comes to Wamu’s apartment for his good weed and the warmth of his second-hand kotatsu, but he’s never been really good at lying to himself. He’s an instinctual person and he knows that there’s a really deep reason that he always comes back to Wamu. He’s just going to tell himself that it’s the professional way Wamu wraps his joints and not the smooth rumble of his voice when he’s high out of his mind. It can’t be the way Wamu’s throat bobs as he scratches down the verses of a new song or how long his fingers are or the way he taps out the beginnings of a beat against the scratched wood of the kotatsu’s tabletop or –.

Fuck, who is he kidding? He keeps coming to Wamu’s aparmtment in the dead of winter because of Wamu and everything that makes him who he is. The warmth of the kotatsu and the good weed are only unnecessary, but delightful, bonuses.

Wamu has long since traded his joint for a menthol cigarette that smells a little like strawberries and Gabi finds the image of him at peace with his well loved notebook even more alluring than some of his spicier fantasies involving his best friend. He looks like a work of art, like one of those slice of life drawings that hangs in a museum for strangers to admire the beauty of an intimate moment. If he could, Gabi would paint Wamu in this very moment and hang it in a museum for the world to take in.

But he’s also a jealous person. He doesn’t want to share this private moment between the two of them and the snow outside with anyone , let alone rooms full of rich, pseudo artistic strangers. This is a Wamu that only he gets to see, a Wamu that is more sacred than whatever weird religious shit that Ryo and Akira get up to in the dead of night.

“You’re staring,” Wamu’s voice, still low and sweet from his eye, cuts through Gabi’s silent revelry and he quickly shakes his head to clear it as a barely perceptible flush rises to the tips of his ears. “You should take a picture, it’ll last longer.” There’s a grin that’s a sweet and seductive as warm molasses on his lips and Gabi is sorely tempted to kiss him. To crawl under the warm blankets of the kotatsu and touch Wamu to his heart’s content.

“I could,” he says instead of acknowledging these desires, resting his chin on his hand and letting his eyes linger on Wamu’s lips as the close around the bud of the cigarette to take a long drag. His friend lets the smoke out through his nose and it’s so fucking corny but Gabi likes it. He likes it because Wamu is doing it. He wants to see Wamu’s lips close around something else, suck on something else –.

“Damn, you’re really high, aren’t you?” Wamu’s voice is just a few octaves deeper but it drags Gabi head first out of his revelry. “You keep going in and out. What’cha thinking about?” It’s a good question and Gabi genuinely considers lying to him about what he’s thinking about. He could say he’s admiring the snowflakes and the twinkling lights outside of Wamu’s window. He could say he’s thinking really hard about an accompanying bass to the beat Wamu taps out against the table. He could say anything at all and it would be better than the truth. But Gabi tells him the truth anyway, because he’s really that high. “I was thinking about you sucking my dick.”
Wamu is silent for a few moments as he digests Gabi’s words, the ashes from his cigarette falling delicately into the ashtray like the snow outside. He laughs after a moment of tension filled silence. “Shut the fuck up , man. Gods, you need to take a nap.” He probably does. They don’t talk about the way Wamu blushed or the incident again. There’s no point.

The cherry blossoms are falling when Wamu walks down the street. He has no idea where the winter has gone but he regrets its loss. He misses the comforting warmth of the kotatsu and the feeling of Gabi’s jean clad legs against his own. He misses those extra long nights spent discussing music and teasing each other while the snow fell and the entire city carried on outside of the bubble of his apartment. Those winter nights in his apartment were absolutely sacred to him in a way that nothing else was and he didn’t know how to move that inherent closeness into a new season, especially a season that doesn’t allow for the same closeness.

He walks past a couple cuddled up under the shade of a sakura tree, their heads tucked together secretively as they clasped their hands tightly together between them. The intimacy of the scene squeezed his heart a little and he’s forced to look away as he continues down the pale pink path. There’s a song in his heart that he can’t put to paper or a rhythm, but he knows it’s about Gabi.

It starts slow, like the way Gabi walks. He’s never in a hurry to go anywhere unless he’s particularly heated, all languid long limbs that carry him wherever he needs to go with no effort at all. The pace doesn’t pick up at all as the song reflects on the way Gabi’s hands curl around sticks of charcoal, of the way his fingers are almost constantly covered in the gray dust. Wamu almost desperately wants to hold onto his long thin fingers, to kiss them and rest his cheek against their calloused warmth. The song picks up as he thinks about the beat of his best friend’s heart, always a little too fast to be normal, a firm reminder of just how alive Gabi is. He’s had nightmares about losing Gabi, each one more graphic and stressful than the last, but he’s always relieved to see Gabi the next day. It’s not always immediately after the nightmares, but his texts always are.

The beat sways as the song waxes poetic about Gabi’s bouncing twists. Wamu’s gotten the pleasure of redoing them a few times and often relishes in the feeling of his best friend’s curling hair sliding through his fingers. Gabi uses a styling cream that smells like coconuts and hibiscus flowers and it takes almost everything in Wamu’s being to keep from tucking his nose into his hair and inhaling. The final chorus is about Gabi’s lips, which it easily the dumbest thing that Wamu has ever considered waxing poetic about. Gabi’s lips aren’t really anything special outside of the fact that they make up a part of the face that Wamu looks at more than his own. If Wamu could do it without blushing like a lovesick school girl, he’d press kisses as light as sakura petals all over Gabi’s face before kissing a little harder once he reached his lips.

“Wamu!” A voice as familiar to Wamu as his own heartbeat shakes him out of his revelry and Wamu turns his head to see Gabi jogging up to him. Gabi doesn’t run, he’s said so himself, but here he is, doing his absolute best to close the space between them as quickly as possible. “You left your location on. Wanna go get bubble tea?” He does, but he wants to do something else first. Something that’s definitely on the riskier side. He doesn’t realize that he’s staring until Gabi waves his hand in his face for his attention. “..you good?”

Wamu smiles at him, huffing out a small laugh as he slings an arm over Gabi’s shoulders. He pulls him closer, chuckling softly as Gabi rests his head on his shoulder. There wasn’t much of a height difference between them, but it was still a comfortable enough way to walk. “I’m good. I just wanna… Ask you a question.”

Gabi lifts his hands up, waving them just slightly in playful fingerguns. “Shoot.” He looks adorable and it makes Wamu’s heart do little flips in his ribcage as he takes a steading breath.

“What would you do if I kissed you?” he finally asks, keeping his hold on Gabi’s shoulder light enough for him to escape if he was floored by the question. If he never wanted to deal with Wamu again or something similarly drastic. Wamu guesses that if he can feel Gabi jerk, it’ll be easier for him to prepare himself for any punches that are sure to come his way.

Gabi’s eyes widen just a little bit in shock before he smiles and tilts his head up at Wamu. “Well, dumbfuck, I’d kiss you back.” Gabi clearly relishes in the amount of time that it takes Wamu to process his words, his smile widening into a positively shit eating grin. “So, you gonna kiss me under the sakura like some love sim hero?”

Wamu wants to shake him, but not as much as he wants to kiss him, and he laughs before pulling him into a slow kiss. From all of the love songs he’s heard on the radio, he expects it to feel like the worlds are aligning or some similarly poetic shit but it’s..not. It’s just him and Gabi, but there’s never been anything more poetic than the way that they fit together.