It was a peaceful morning when Atsushi came downstairs into the kitchen, only to find Akutagawa making tea there. It wasn’t an unusual occurrence, but he still kind of had to get used to the sight.
Only a few months ago, Beneath the Moonlight and Rock Mafia had been rivals, and now-…
Well, now some band members were even living together.
Atsushi smiled and leaned against the doorway. He could hardly believe it himself, to be honest. He and the other man had become…something. Something he couldn’t quite name yet, but something nonetheless.
Dazai had made sure to warn him about such undefined relationships, but Atsushi was certain they wouldn’t fall apart that easily. They were living together, and Akutagawa was really kind of cool once you got to know him.
Speaking of said man, Atsushi didn’t think he’d noticed his presence yet. Akutagawa was partially humming, partially singing a song, which sounded oddly soothing. The other’s raspy voice made it sound especially touching.
‘Have you ever thought about singing on stage, Aku?’ he said once the other was done.
Akutagawa shocked up, nearly dropping the cup in his hand but catching it at the last second.
A sigh. Akutagawa had called him that nickname ever since he’d found out his favourite shirt was one with a tiger on it (not to mention he “craved attention like a cat”, although he wasn’t sure what that was even supposed to mean).
‘I’m just saying-…well, your voice is really nice to listen to. You could give it a shot, right? You always just play the guitar, but your singing is-’
‘I don’t want to sing on stage.’ Akutagawa hissed.
‘But why not?’ Atsushi persistently tried. ‘You don’t have to switch careers, I’m just saying you could try it sometime, you know?’
Akutagawa glared at him, and Atsushi knew he’d crossed a line. Not that he understood why though. Why was this such a sensitive subject for him?
‘Don’t bring it up again.’ Akutagawa hissed, picking up his cup and striding past the other. ‘This conversation is over.’
Atsushi let out a defeated sigh and leaned against the counter.
What had just happened?
Atsushi blinked, surprised at Chuuya’s response upon explaining what had happened. ‘I just…suggested he should try singing on stage sometime…’ the younger male brought out. ‘Is that so wrong?’
Dazai, who was sitting next to the redhead, bit his lip. ‘It’s kind of a sensitive subject for him.’
‘I figured, but why?’ Atsushi asked. He didn’t understand at all. ‘He sounded really good…’
‘He knows that.’ Chuuya stated.
It was quiet for a while.
‘And-…the person who damaged his vocal cords knew too.’
Atsushi’s eyes widened. ‘What…?’
Chuuya let out a sigh. ‘Mori first recruited Akutagawa for his singing talent. He was grumpy and rude, but he was good. Until during one of his shows…well…’
‘Someone attacked him on stage and damaged his vocal cords permanently.’ Dazai finished the sentence for him.
Atsushi was frozen on the spot upon hearing those words. ‘That’s terrible…’ he breathed out. ‘Who would do such a horrid thing…?’
Chuuya shook his head. ‘We don’t know, the guy never got caught. As for Akutagawa…well, he never really talks about the incident at all.’
‘But why-…? I would have understood better…I wouldn’t have hurt him like that.’ Atsushi murmured. Had the other not trusted him enough?
‘I wouldn’t take it too personally, Atsushi-kun.’ Dazai stated. ‘He’s just like that.’
‘Though maybe you should talk to him about it. You two are dating right?’ Chuuya added.
Atsushi’s face became red. ‘Uhm. I-…I guess? I don’t know?’
The pair across from him stared at him.
‘You’re living together.’ Chuuya stated.
‘And you’re being all gross when you’re together. Quarrelling like an old married couple.’ Dazai added. Atsushi wanted to argue by saying they were just as bad, but then again, they were actually dating.
Chuuya let out a sigh. ‘Well, just talk to him, okay?’
Atsushi nodded. ‘I’ll try…’
Had Akutagawa really not trusted him enough to tell him?
It was a quiet afternoon when Atsushi sat down next to the other on the couch in their living room. ‘I uhm-…can we talk?’ he asked timidly.
‘We’re already talking.’
‘I mean…talking talking.’ Atsushi scoffed. ‘Please?’
Akutagawa sighed and closed the book he was reading. ‘Well?’
Atsushi took a deep breath. ‘I’m sorry about upsetting you last time.’ he said, looking down. ‘I didn’t know the full story, and I’m sorry if I hurt you unintentionally.’
The other blinked in surprise, and then let out a sigh. ‘Dazai and Chuuya filled you in, I presume?’
Atsushi nodded. ‘Sorry if I invaded your privacy, I was just worried that-’
‘You apologize too much.’
It was quiet for a while.
Akutagawa let out another sigh. ‘You’re so-…’ he started.
Atsushi didn’t make eye contact, and stared at the clenched hands in his lap instead. ‘Annoying? Whiny? Overemotional?’ he helpfully suggested.
‘Will you stop it?’ Akutagawa exclaimed, moving so that he was partially pinning the other against the couch. Their eyes met, and Atsushi had to admit he didn’t see any resentment there.
‘Don’t apologize again.’ the man groaned as he released Atsushi. ‘You’re so…good and kind and I don’t know how to fucking deal with that.’ he sighed, sinking back in a pillow. ‘I don’t want you to pity me.’
Atsushi’s eyes widened. ‘Is that why you didn’t tell me?’ he breathed out.
‘What if it is?’
Atsushi looked down, a small smile gracing his lips. ‘I thought you hadn’t told me because you didn’t trust me.’ he admitted.
‘We’re dating, if I didn’t trust you, I wouldn’t be here.’
Atsushi positively beamed at those words. ‘We are?’
Akutagawa blinked. ‘Oh my God.’
‘What did you think we were, Jinko? We’re living together.’
‘We- I-…well, you never-…you never actually said we were…so I didn’t know what to think.’
Akutagawa groaned and buried his face in his hands. ‘You actually thought-…oh my God…you’re so daft…’
‘I’m sorry…’ Atsushi mumbled before he could stop himself.
It was quiet for a while.
‘We’re not really good at this whole…communication thing, are we?’ Akutagawa eventually stated. Atsushi quietly shook his head, and slowly reached out to take hold of the other’s hand.
‘It’s okay though. We’ll get there, right?’
Akutagawa looked at him. ‘Perhaps.’
Atsushi smiled and leaned against Akutagawa comfortably. When the other male put an arm around him as show of affection, that smile increased.
‘I’m not all that good at talking about my…feelings and such.’ he admitted. Then he paused for a bit. ‘Maybe I should sing them to you after all.’
Atsushi couldn’t tell whether the man was joking or not, though he had to admit he liked the sound of that idea.
‘Just do what feels right.’ he hummed.
Perhaps eventually, they would be able to communicate properly.
Several months later, Akutagawa did indeed sing Atsushi a song.
He didn’t do so on stage, he didn’t do so for publicity and he didn’t do so because he needed the world to know his feelings.
He needed Atsushi to know his feelings, and perhaps, the boy noted, that meant more than any performance he could have ever done on stage.
Their communication skills may have been lacking, but in that moment Atsushi was certain they truly understood each other.
And maybe that was enough.