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1.

 

Teru was nervous, in unknown territory both physically and emotionally. The route he took home after school that day was altered just so he would bump into the other esper in what would seem to be a totally innocent and natural way.

Teruki tries too hard to act surprised when Mob calls out to him. Like this wasn’t the plan. Like Teru wasn’t the easiest fucking person to spot, with the towering wig and bright purple blazer (he’s also sporting these neon polka dot socks; one of the only fashion liberties he gets with his uniform). With an aura Mob could sense miles away.

Mob’s out of breath as he approaches, struggling to keep a smile on his face while wheezing. Teru returns a blinding one that doesn't reach his eyes. He’s uncomfortable, he can’t read Mob; they’ve only really spoken once since their whole incident, and Teru didn’t exactly apologize. But that doesn’t seem to phase Mob in the slightest.  

“Hanazawa,” A wheeze. “Hello.” Another one.

“Ah, Mob!” The blond forces out, “What a pleasant surprise this is; for you at least.” Teru tries to adopt a playful tone but it comes off as more stiff than anything.

Mob’s bent over, hands placed on his knees in order to help support his body up; he lifts his head to meet Teru’s gaze, mouth open slightly as if he were going to speak again, but ultimately dropping his head back down and putting up a hand to signal for the other to wait just a moment.

For a moment, Teruki considers offering up the can of sparkling water he has tossed in his school bag. But he can’t bring himself to hand it over, because he’s bitter and craves even the slightest bit of power over the other. He tells himself that he’s allowed to be cruel, and talks himself out of feeling bad later when he’s laying in bed thinking about his choice.

“What brings you here?” The dark haired boy speaks up as soon as he’s gained his composure, quickly standing back up. “Seems out of the way.”

“It’s not like you know where I live, even.” Teru replies plainly, causing Mob to look embarrassed almost instantly.

“Uh, I mean...I just-- I mean I’ve never seen you this way and you know, I’m here a lot. So uh, I just assumed. Sorry.” He responded, rubbing the back of his neck anxiously.

“You’re good, Kageyama. And you are correct, actually. Just felt like a change in scenery today.” The last part is a lie, but it’s not like Mob would know.

Mob only lets out a soft ‘oh’ in response, and for what feels like years the two just stare at one another. Teruki doesn’t want to be the person to give in and break the eye contact, but he can feel the tips of his ears starting to heat up; so he does.

Teru sighs loudly, flipping open his phone to give it a quick glance.

“Sorry, I must be going-- big plans.” Another lie, but believable considering who he is.

“It was nice seeing you, Hanazawa.” There’s no smile, which later Teru will come to learn that’s just how Mob is.

“You can call me Teru.” The blond states matter of factly, and pauses for a moment, debating with himself if he should say the following words. “After all, we are friends now.”

Mob actually looks surprised, and Teru swears he can feel a spike in the other’s aura. He doesn’t say anything though, just nods earnestly with a soft (and sweet, but Teru doesn’t let himself think that) hum.

There’s more silence, but this time it doesn’t make Teru nervous. He feels warm (and he doesn’t know it yet, but it’s because of Mob, who’s radiating tender waves that are affecting the blond not only physically, but emotionally as well).

Mob breaks it this time. Words slow, head tilting to the side slightly. “Goodbye, Hanaza-- goodbye, Teru.”

“See you around, Mob.” Teruki replies, spinning on his heel, swaying his hand in a lazy wave as takes a few steps forward. He can hear the gravel twist under Mob’s feet behind him, and he waits a beat, and then looks back over his shoulder, loudly calling out to the other.

“Oh and Mob?” Teru waits until the other boy has stopped and slightly turned towards the other before he continues. “You’re pretty amazing.”

There’s another spike in Mob’s aura, and Teru is certain about it this time. The dark haired boy stares down at his feet, nervously playing with his hands and fumbling to say anything in response.

Teru can’t help but grin, and he’s decided it's because he feels powerful at this moment, making Mob unravel slightly.

When Mob finally gets ahold of himself, he looks up. He has this sweet smile on his face; small and timid. “You really think so?” His voice is so soft that Teruki struggles to catch what he said.

Once it processes in Teru’s head, he feels slightly annoyed. There’s no way this guy lacked this amount confidence, right? His tongue clicks out of a bad habit, and Mob’s smile drops instantly. Face and demeanor becoming unreadable as ever.

Knowing there no saving this interaction, Teru plainly replies with a simple “duh” before he leaves for real this time.

Chapter Text

2.

 

The reason Teruki finds himself in the Spirits and Such office is purely because he’s bored. He’d even go as far as to say he’s curious about Mob’s master-- he was almost in awe of the sudden power that erupted from his being. But those are the only reasons that he finds himself swinging the door open, a bit too dramatically for someone who’s just passing by with no real urgency. No other reason (just like how there was no reason for the extra hour he spent getting ready before heading over; clothes scattered all across his bed before finally settling on a navy striped tee with an abysmal purple, seafoam green and white color-blocked windbreaker thrown over, as well as a pair of black leggings with reflective strips down the side, and a tame pair of cheetah print high tops).

That doesn’t really explain why there’s not the slightest hint of disappointment when he comes face to face with an empty room save for Mob.

Who’s looking right at Teru now, frozen like a deer in headlights.

In one hand a pen is dangling from Mob’s fingers, and the other is gripping a calculator. There are a few worksheets sprawled across his work desk, and Teru quickly makes note that they are hardly filled out.

“Teruki, are you looking for Master Reigen?” Mob speaks up, looking back at the older man’s currently empty desk.

“Perhaps I was-- but it seems I’ve been awarded with your presence instead.” Teru responds smoothly, taking a few long strides until he reaches Mob’s desk, and then without asking perches himself on the edge. “Whatcha working on?”

“Oh,” Mob puts down his utensils, angling himself to better look up at the blond. “Just some geometry...I usually ask Ritsu for help, but he’s been busy with some student council stuff, so I don’t want to bother him.”

Teru hums in understanding and then leans closer to Mob to get a good look at his worksheets (and maybe, just maybe he places his hand a bit too close to the other’s as he moves).

“Want me to help? I excel at so many things, and shapes happen to be one of those.”

This earns Teru a small snort from the other, followed by an easily identifiable swelling of pride inside of him.

“I would appreciate that, Teru.” Mob response plainly, shifting his papers slightly and looking up at the blond expectantly.

It takes Teru a moment to read through the worksheets, and then wracked his brain to remember some stupid formulas he never thought he’d need again. But once he does, he quickly plucks the pen from Mob’s fingers and begins to explain step by step how to work through the problems, slowly, waiting for Mob to nod in understanding before moving on.

After about half a worksheet, Mob’s got a handle on it, so Teru sits back and just watches over the other as he stumbles through his worksheets, tossing in small reminders and corrections as they come up.

The office is silent, save for the scratching of the pen, fingers lightly pressing the calculator buttons and the soft ‘thud’ that will repeat every few moments from Teru’s swinging feet.

When all the worksheets are completed, Mob mumbles something about how ‘they are probably all wrong’ before handing the pile of papers to Teruki to look over.

“You know Mob,” Teru finally says, peering slightly over the top of the papers. “You aren’t as dumb as you let people think you are.”

The corners of Mob’s mouth twitch as he quickly looks down to his hands, but Teruki can feel a familiar spike in Mob’s aura. He considers reaching out to touch the other softly, but just the thought of doing that make the tips of his fingers burn unpleasantly.

Instead, he slowly picks up the abandoned pen and scribbles on the top of the first worksheet, then sliding them back in Mob’s view. This causes him to look up, and Teru’s craning his neck uncomfortable trying to see if he got a smile out of Mob, and he’s relieved when he sees the soft-hearted expression spread across the other’s face.

At the top of the paper, near where a messy ‘Kageyama Shigeo’ is scribbled (and Teru will take the fact that he went home and softly cooed the other’s name upon learning it in full over and over again to his grave) is a neat ‘100%’ and then a stick figure next to it with an uncomfortably detailed thumbs up. There’s a speech bubble as well, spelling out a simple ‘good job mob!’ (Teru won’t learn this for years, but Mob took a zero on that worksheet. He couldn’t bring himself to turn it in; instead, he tucked it away between books on his shelf, peaking out just enough so Mob could cast a glance towards it when he needed it most).

Teru left that day with a new contact in his phone, and a mission to feel that aura spike from the other esper again.

Chapter Text

3.

 

It doesn’t take Teruki long to start doing things that his peers would consider out of character. He’s been more kind to the world; no more clenched jaw or hand outstretched in an attempt to overwhelm someone with a callous yellow glow. Now he was surrounded in it himself; malicious turned good-natured, and for once he felt like existence was easy.

It’s not a coincidence that for the past few months he started to take a more scenic route on his way home. That he’s been quick to grab his phone every time it vibrated, usually followed by a rather glum expression, but there were rare occurrences when he’d display a private smile, fingers flying as he responded (at times, his cheeks would be tinted a sweeping pink).

No one can catch him after school; he’s racing out the door, only slowing down to check himself out in a shop window. He’d say he mastered an art; tousling his hair just enough to be charming, but also low effort. He’s been incorporating hair clips into his wardrobe more as of recent (ever since a certain esper made a comment on how they suit Teru); and today he’s snapped two in, holding some hair on the left side of his face back. One’s just a simple lavender barrette, and the other is almost the same, but has a decent sized white star on the end, covered by large chunks of glitter. Plus a pair of socks covered in cartoon kitten heads, just to fit the occasion.

Teruki feels like today is a special one; he and Shigeo (the blond adores calling the other that; it feels almost intimate-- he makes a point to overuse his friend’s name, always a bit softer than he means too) made actual plans. Usually, the two just meet up after school and go where the wind takes them; sometimes they walk for hours and end up having to call Reigen to pick them up, other times they will loiterer in random shops, or split some food unknown to them both.

The pair were just going to look for cats by the river; something they’ve done before but Shigeo requested they spend their afternoon like this, so Teru will be damned if they won’t find some cats (even though he is allergic-- Teru has no plans of ever telling Shigeo this fact). He even made sure to stuff some tuna into his bag in case they were hungry.

Teru thinks Shigeo love of cats is cute-- there’s a special kind of warmth and softness that he reserves for any cat that crosses his path, and Teru feels his knees start to get weak when he is blessed enough to observe such a moment.

However, there are times where their cat-spades make Teruki wonder; more often than not, when the pair find themselves spending time with the neighborhood cats, Shigeo will have a moment where his body freezes. His aura goes cold, almost defensively wrapping around the young esper; sometimes it’s due to people passing by, laughing a bit too loud. There are times where it’s due to Teru making too sudden of a movement, or at times when he playfully bumps their shoulders together.

He knows better than to press his friend on the matter; when Shigeo is ready he’ll confide in Teruki (or at least he hopes his friend will). But Teru’s not great with concealing his emotions, unlike Shigeo he’s an open book always; in every aspect, his aura, his actions, and his expressions. So every time it happens, Teru’s demeanor will change; he becomes overwhelmed with heartbreak and worry-- but he knows better, because he knows Shigeo extremely well at this point (or at least that’s what he likes to tell himself) and therefore shoudn’t--

“Teru,” He hears his dear friend call out softly; the blond had been so wrapped up in his thoughts he didn’t even notice he got to their meeting spot, and he definitely didn’t notice Shigeo. “Are you alright?”

Instantly Teru finds himself at ease; Shigeo has started to have that effect on him. It may sound corny, but Teru imagines this is what home feels like. Safe, comforting and warm-- not like the deserted apartment he finds himself residing at.

“Oh yes-- very, now that you are here, Shigeo.” He says quickly in response, and he doesn’t have to force the grin that spreads across his face.

Shigeo studies his friend for a moment, staying focused on Teru’s face as if there was something on it. Just as the blond’s cheeks began to tint pink, Shigeo reaches out; allowing the tips of his fingers to lightly brush against the glitter covered star tucked into Teru’s hair.

“Ah, I don’t think I’ve see you wear this one before.” He says slowly, making a face as he thinks about his next words. “It’s very cute.”

Teru’s embarrassed how such a simple comment made his ready to burst. He pulled away awkwardly, mumbling a ‘thank you’ before linking his and Shigeo’s arms together and dragging him onward.

As they scan the area for any cats hanging around, Teru talks about whatever comes to mind; what he had for lunch, an argument a teacher got in with another student, the results of a cooking show he watched the night before-- and Shigeo, as usual, was only half listening, tossing a odd comment here and there whenever something his friend said stuck out to him. Teru didn’t mind that Shigeo wasn’t always attentive; he didn’t get many chances to share his thoughts with others, so he appreciates the space Shigeo gives him to do so (Shigeo simply likes Teru’s voice; it’s different from Ritsu’s or Reigen’s or Tome’s-- but he didn’t have words to describe why).

Finally, the pair spotted one. They approached the cat with caution, and as they drew closer the two recognized the black and white cat as one they have come across before; a playful one they have taken to calling ‘Sugarcube’.

Sugarcube bounds over to Shigeo and Teru, pressing herself against Shigeo’s leg, causing the boy to begin radiating warmth. Teru slumps his bag off his shoulder, doing his best to pull out the can of tuna silently.

Shigeo and Teruki are sitting next to one another now, knees bumping lightly into the other’s as they watch the cat excitedly devour the tuna. Teru does his best not to stare directly at his friend-- doing so always gives him a rather weird feeling in his stomach, and Shigeo always makes a face as if he’s eaten something sour whenever he catches the blond doing so.

Unprompted, Shigeo clears his throat and says, “I’m not doing the best.”

This causes Teru to press their knees together, and redirect his focus to his friend. Shigeo isn’t looking at Teruki, just starting intently at Sugarcube, aura gone cold.

After waiting a moment, Teru hums softly, as if to indicate that Shigeo may continue when he’s ready. Teru can feel his heart beat speed up in anticipation, fighting his gut instinct to leap in and hold Shigeo close-- but he knows better; Teru knows Shigeo.

And he’s right; after another few tense moments of silence, Shigeo begins to speak, slow and deliberate. Teru is clenching his jaw, breath still in his lungs as Shigeo reveals what happened to him, something the esper hasn’t spoken about to anyone, not even Reigen.

When Shigeo brings up the cat from the illusion world, he breaks. His aura becomes unbound, spilling out as he presses himself into Teru.

Teru has seen the other cry before, and it’s always inflicted a degree a heartbreak, but this time was different. Teru could feel the pain, the loneliness, the fear-- Shigeo’s words are coming out jumbled and incoherent, but Teruki is able to understand everything in full.

He takes this as a sign to wrap his arms around Shigeo; it’s a bit awkward, but neither care as they cling to one another a bit tighter. Teru does his best to emulate Shigeo’s warm and calming aura to wrap around the other, hoping that it offers some sort of comfort.

Which it does, and due to Teru’s nature, it reveals perhaps too much. Nonverbal vulnerability is flowing between the pair; showing Shigeo in full that Teru has experienced those same feelings to a degree.

And then Teruki is overwhelmed with Shigeo’s strength; his resolve, his compassion as the rest of the scene plays out, and before Teru knows it-- he’s crying as well.

The two young espers are causing a scene, almost all who pass doing their best to ignore the two weird middle schoolers who are crying by the riverside; minus Sugarcube, who-- once their auras calm down --makes her way over to Shigeo, mewing softly as she paws at his foot.

This causes Shigeo to pull away from Teru (regrettably, for both), and reach out slowly to pat her lightly on the head.

They are silent for a long moment; just the sound of the river, the wind rushing between leaves, the cat’s harmonic purring and the ringing in Teruki’s ears. He doesn’t bother to stop himself from openly staring at Shigeo this time around.

Teru’s not sure if they are supposed to talk about what happened, but he desperately wants too. Every time he blinks he just sees snapshots of Shigeo suffering, and it’s making him dizzy and he can feel bile start to climb it’s way up his throat and he can’t breathe and--

At some point, Sugarcube has made her way into Teruki’s lap, and was now pawing at his face. He turns to her, but can’t bring himself to stare for too long.

“Shigeo…” He speaks up after a moment, looking out at the water, following the path of a leaf that had the misfortune of falling in. It takes him a moment to sort out what he wants to say next, and he knows its making his friend nervous. So with the hand that he isn’t leaning on to support himself up, he reaches out and grasps at the bottom of the other’s jacket.

That seems to give Shigeo some level of ease. And then turns to him, almost too swiftly, and with the warmest smile that has ever spread across his face.

“You’re bravery and resilience leave me at a loss for words.” Is all he can manage, but paired with his esteemed tone, Shigeo seems to physically melt.

Teru doesn’t miss the slight spike in his aura either; it’s muted, probably worn out from earlier, but it’s there.

Shigeo opens his mouth to respond, but he fears that if he were he would start to weep yet again, so he just relaxes into an easy smile, moving to stroke the cat that was still lazing in Teru’s lap.

“It’s getting dark.” Teru says eventually.

Shigeo just hums.

And then Teru sneezes. Not once, not twice, not thrice; but four times in a row.

His cover is blown, and Shigeo huffs out a lecture as they make their ways home.

Chapter Text

4.

 

Teruki has dragged Shigeo to the mall on a rather gloomy Sunday afternoon. It’s not his first time there, he usually goes with Tome or Ritsu. Tome just likes to loiter and get mall pretzels while Ritsu needs his most trusted confidant to help him when buying new clothes (which is funny, especially now since Shigeo’s fashion has been going downhill due to Teruki).

But of course with Teru, Shiego isn’t allowed to just be a bystander. The blond is picking out all sorts of clothes he think his friend would look dashing in, overflowing his arms with options that Shigeo would probably wouldn’t even look twice at on his own.

Then once Teru was unable to carry anymore, he would shove Shigeo into the closest dressing room, waiting with a wide grin outside the door for his friend to show off his new looks. Sometimes Teru would have to slide his way into the dressing room after Shigeo calls out for help due to getting stuck in whatever overly complicated item Teru picked out, which felt like a hate crime from God to Teru. He’d hold his breath and try pray that his friend couldn’t see the tint in his cheeks; and maybe, just maybe there were times where Teru was helping Shigeo out of a shirt, and his knuckles would brush against the other’s skin, sending a chill down his spine (and maybe, just maybe there were times when Shigeo would purposely get stuck).

Christ, even just thinking about those tender moments has Teru’s heart yearning. What’s gotten into him even?

It’s not like Teru was in love with his best friend, hell, he barely knew if Shigeo considered him that. He’s just it’s just because Teru’s never had a friend like the other, or even a bond like this at all; well, Tome would beat his ass if she heard him say that, because he does have deep in meaningful connections with others now...but Shigeo was different.

Shigeo was his first.

His first real friend, that is. Nothing more.

Again, he’s not in love, he’s just gone most of his life without this type of intimacy. He’s simply touch starved and needy by nature.

The fact that Teru’s heart skips a beat when he catches the corners of Shigeo’s mouth twitch until he has a blinding grin splitting across his face means nothing. He doesn’t get weak in the knees when his friend tactfully brushes the hair out of the blond’s face after a gust of wind. There’s no hidden meaning in how Teru often misses what people say to him when Shigeo’s close by because he’s looking into the other’s eyes and getting lost. It doesn’t mean anything when he walks a bit too close to his friend, allowing their shoulders to brush from time to him, maybe curling his fingers just a bit to catch onto Shigeo’s sleeve lighting and having to restrain himself from reaching out and slipping their hands together. He doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night, the ghost of a kiss finding a home on his lips as if Shigeo has just been stood before him, knuckles white as he gripped Teru’s shirt, crashing their bodies together in what is somehow the most tender yet intense moment of his life; but it was just a dream, like it always was, that’s all Teru had and he wished there was more.

Fuck.

Teruki Hanazawa is sat outside a Forever 21 changing room while Run Away With Me by Carly Rae Jepsen plays over the shitty speakers when he realizes he’s in love with Shigeo Kageyama.

He’s not sure what he’s supposed to do with this information, or if he is supposed to do anything with it at all. He doesn’t get much time to dwell on it too long, because Shigeo was emerging from the door, looking absolutely ridiculous and yet somehow endearing.

Shigeo was in a lavender fuzzy turtleneck that somehow managed to look too big and too tight at the same time. Hanging off the sleeves and bottom of the sweater were small poms, dangling only a few centimeters from the fabric. For pants, he had zebra patterned skinny jeans that are pre-ripped at the knees and zippers that don’t actually work places on the outsides of his legs from the middle of his calves down on. The shoes are a sleek black, and Shigeo wouldn’t hate them if the laces weren’t a nauseating neon yellow.

The dark haired esper’s face was warm, tips of his ears red as he had expected Teruki lose it mind as soon as he stepped out of the dressing room

But the blond didn’t laugh.

Instead, he let out a sigh (one Shigeo would describe as dreamy if he had been paying more attention), and said “Whoa, you’re so extraordinarily handsome, Shigeo.”

Teru’s voice was low and soft, and it made Shigeo flush even more.

“How...how could you say that even? Dressed like this you even, you even look normal next to me!” Shigeo struggles to get out, arms frantically gesturing at Teru (who’s wearing a pair of plaid slacks held up by rainbow suspenders. He has a worn out Bob Dylan shirt tucked into his pants and a black and white striped long sleeve under that. For some reason he has metallic dress shoes on that will reflect light into a stranger's eyes and give them an instant headache. And to tie it all together he’s got two barrettes pinning back his bangs; one was bigger than usual with a white base and various colored polka dots scattered on it. The other one just had 3 small red heart attached, and of course they were covered in glitter); gasping as he realized what he just said. Now he was stumbling to get an apology out, to backtrack the notion that Teru wasn’t normal and that it was a problem; and Shigeo was spiraling dressed like a fool in a overly bright outlet store and--

And now Teru’s laughing; warm and unreserved, trying and failing to muffle it with his hand, all while looking at his friend with sweetness and longing.

Shigeo, unsurprisingly, doesn’t end up buying the outfit. They opt to split a pretzel, both pretending not to notice when their fingertips brushed as they both went too rip pieces off for themselves.

If Teru wasn’t so focused on newly discovered feelings, he would have noticed how his best friend’s softhearted aura expanded throughout the whole store at once, and then remained close around his person for the rest of the trip.

Chapter Text

5.

 

Teru found himself lying next to his best friend Shigeo on his twin sized bottom bunk bed at 2am; which was not an uncommon occurrence for the two over the past year and a half. Early in in their friendship, Shigeo would always ask to spend the night in Teru’s empty and lonely apartment, insisting that it was far too late for him to walk home and how it was just so easy to lose track of time with Teru (the last part always made the tips of the blond’s ears heat up). Teru wasn’t stupid, he knew Shigeo just didn’t like the idea of him living alone back then; but times have changed now.

He’s living with Reigen, who somehow managed to legal custody of Teru with a few phone calls (the blond would have been heartbroken that his parents gave up him so easily, but after the support Reigen offered him after only meeting him once not only put the final nail in the coffin, but cemented it into the ground as well). Teru shared a room with Tome by choice; Shou has a room to himself, and honestly, he needed the space with his elaborate set up for his hamsters. The two had been sharing a room before Reigen decided the house was too small for 5 people; Reigen gave up his room to Teru and Tome, leaving him and Serizawa to camp out in Reigen’s office until Shou came along, which then left the two grown men pressed together on the living room couch with no privacy.

Seeing Teru have a home in such a lively environment filled with love made the dark haired esper indescribably happy. He cared deeply about each person the household, in the case of Teru, there was something just a bit more satisfying about seeing him bickering with Shou over the dinner table, or hearing him talk about how Tome fell off the top bunk the night before, or when Shigeo would come back from the bathroom on movie nights and see Teru passed out on Reigen, who more often than not was passed out on his boyfriend.

Shigeo just cared about his best friend’s well being and happiness, that all (he knew that wasn’t the end of it).

Tonight was one where Tome was out with her friend Takenaka looking for aliens, something she did often (Teru knew that it was a lie tonight; she only ever did that if the whole club was around since Takenaka didn’t really care about that stuff. The two were just going to hold up in the esper’s childhood tree house, passing a joint back and forth as they have nuanced discussions about whatever comes to mind. Or just recent gayscapedes), meaning Teru and Shigeo were allowed some privacy to do...whatever it is that best friends do.

Shigeo sighs softly from besides Teru, who was wearing a worn out shirt of a band he’s never heard of that Reigen gave him and a checkered pair of sleeping pants. The blond wants to turn over to his side to look at Shigeo, but he’s positive his heart would stop, killing him instantly. Shigeo was wearing one of Teru’s shirts-- the one with a cowboy with heart eyes on it --and his own boxers (‘he always runs hot in his sleep’, Teru would tell himself during every sleepover). His hair was tousled from rolling lazing around Teru’s bed for the past few hours as they just talked, switching from one mundane topic to the next, and something about seeing Shigeo in his bed, in his clothes with bed ridden hair and that smile...it all just felt too domestic and soft for Teru to handle.

Teru must have made some sort of contemplative noise unconsciously, because Shigeo was quick to prop himself up on his elbow, hair falling in front of his eyes ever so slightly as he said, words dripping in quiet concern, “What’s on your mind?”

The blond has to look at his friend now, and he can feel his mouth go dry almost instantly when he finds Shigeo’s compassion filled eyes staring down at him. When he doesn’t respond right away, the other reaches his free hand out slowly, just barely allowing his fingertips to brush against Teru’s arm. He lets it linger there for a moment, as if he had to think carefully about his next move, then allowing them to create a constant pressure in that spot.

Teru jolts a bit in response, but moves to look at Shigeo more directly, offering him a honey-sweet smile (if not for the already warm glow created by the string lights hung around the room, Teru would have been able to catch the way his best friend’s face tinted pink).

‘You.’ Teru wants to say, in response to the question posed earlier; but to his own dismay, he’s a bit of a coward when it concerns the other esper. It’s been a solid 3 months since Teru had his epiphany in a Forever 21 that he in fact is, and had been for awhile, in love with his best friend.

And since then he’s been, well, attempting to stay inconspicuous about his feelings. Tome was steadfast in her claims that it was terribly obvious, so much so that a complete stranger would would be able to tell after observing just a single look Teru tossed towards Shigeo.

He looks at Shigeo for another moment, corners of his mouth quivering as he tried to hold himself together-- but Christ, it was as if Teru was the last surviving pile of snow and Shigeo was the fresh spring sun; rendering him utterly defenseless and left to melt into nothing.

Teru releases a breathe he didn’t realize he was holding, and it came out far more thoughtful than intended-- which only piqued the dark haired boy’s interests even more. But Shigeo didn’t press; he knew Teru often got caught up in his own head, especially in instances where Shigeo could feel the other’s aura pulsing (it was matching the pounding of Teru’s heart, unbeknownst to Shigeo). So he waited patiently for the other to speak up, something Teru had done many times for him.

“You know, Shigeo…” Teru starts, shiver sent down his spine as the other instinctively began to lightly caress his arm (not that Teru was complaining). “I’ve never been a man who has strived for anything in life.” A beat. “Before you, that is.”

Shigeo’s fingers came to a halt, which gave Teru an opening to reposition himself. His movement was swift and intentional; Teru mirrored Shigeo, hand pressed to his cheek as support. But he also pulled his knees up, just enough so they were pressed against Shigeo’s own.

And then Teru’s free hand is reaching out, backs of his fingers leisurely sweeping Shigeo’s fringe away from his eyes (and oh boy, did Teru regret that. As soon as the deed was done, the blond heart was swelling in his chest, flooded by a potent desire to surge forward and press their lips together at long last).

Shigeo’s breathing was heavy, but Teru was unable to notice due to the sirens going off in his head, warning him about how thin the ice he was currently treadening on was.

“Indeed, I have felt jealousy before-- shocking, I’m aware --but alas, you have managed to incite something else within me entirely.” In response to this, Shigeo’s eyes widened just enough to be noticeable.

“Ever since our initial meeting,  you humbled me. I know you are well privy to this already, even without me having vocalized it until this moment. At first I was angry. I was so angry, at you, at my peers, at the world. I wanted to be cruel-- I didn’t want to face the truth, to admit that I was wrong in my actions.” Teru let out a shaky breath, and Shigeo’s face softened.

“But ever since you, there was something holding me back. I began to hesitate, to regret, to be overwhelmed by empathy that I thought I no longer possessed. I had spend so long viewing myself as some champion of all, untouchable-- you showed me that I am just a person. Human, all flesh and emotion. And the worst part is Shigeo, is how much I wanted to hate you for you it. I wanted to loathe you for beating me, but...but I just couldn’t. You didn’t knock me down a peg by emerging victor of our battle...no, it was how you lead me back down to Earth.” Teru breaks their eye contact, voice cracking as he speaks. Shigeo reaches out a shaky hand, allowing his fingers to curl around his best friend’s hand, who gives it a light squeeze.

 Teru is breathing loud and heavy, and Shigeo can tell his nose is stuffed, a telltale sign that Teru is holding back tears.

 “Shigeo, I…” Teru tightened his grip on the other’s hand.

  'I love you.’ He wanted to say.

 'I’m in love with you.’ It was on the tip of his tongue.

 But he couldn’t.

 Instead, he shuffled himself ever so closer to his friend, uncharacteristically giving Shigeo a shy look, cheeks flushed and damp.

“If I am even able to become half the person that you are, then I think...no, I know that I would be the best version of myself.” Shigeo makes a strangled noise at that, but Teru is unable to stop himself.

He’s so caught up in his own emotions he doesn’t notice how he and Shigeo’s auras are mingled together, enveloping the two in a beautiful light as the begin to float above the bed (Shigeo doesn’t notice either).

“You inspire me, Shigeo. To change, to be good, to be free. Shigeo, I don’t mean to freak you out by saying all of this so suddenly but you...you are the most important person in my life, and you deserve to know. How much you impacted my world, how much I adore you, how much I...” Teru cuts himself off in the moment, feeling as if he were suffocating as he started into his best friend’s eyes.

Not even a second later, Shigeo was surging forward.

Chapter Text

+1.

 

Shigeo wasn’t oblivious to his own emotions, he’s known how he felt for Teru ever since he first saw the other wear a real smile. A carefree and bright one. One that was open and honest. One that reached his eyes, causing them to crinkle at the corners. One that never failed to make Shigeo smile back (and failed to leave his mind).

The esper had a mental list of all the things that he adored about the blond. His laugh, an overly contagious one, full of snorts and wheezes. The goofy outfits that he somehow manages to pull off with ease. The collection of barrettes he has tucked away in a drawer. The way he would play with Shigeo’s hand mindlessly while they were watching a movie, or trying to study. How he’d text Shigeo good morning and goodnight each day. How he always seemed so full of passion for everything he talked about. How he had strong opinions and wasn’t scared to voice them. How he picked up habits from others, like the way he moves his hands like Reigen or twirls the hair behind his ear when he’s nervous like Serizawa. How he would wait outside Shigeo's room and walk him to his next class because he knew passing periods in highschool made him a bit nervous. The way the his eyes looked in the moonlight when they took late night walks. The way he spoke, both in word choice and sound. The way Teru made his stomach flip and his heart all mush.

There was a lot that Shigeo adored about Teru, to say the least.

Ritsu is the only person he’s confided in over this, he hadn’t intended on it-- not that he enjoys keeping things from his brother, but he knows that Ritsu has a habit of telling things to Shou, someone who’s never kept a secret in his life. The confession was first spoken into the world on what seemed to be a usual rough night for Shigeo; one where he would wake up drenched in sweat, hardly able to breathe and shaking, which would lead him to dragging himself into his little brother’s room, not having to say anything as the creaking in the floor caused Ritsu to wake and slide over in his bed to make room.

Both of the Kageyama brothers don’t often talk about the nightmares they have. When they first started, both found themselves confiding in one another in tears, gripping tightly to each other. Now it’s just a need to no longer be alone, feeling shoulders pressed together in the dark.

It was different for Shigeo on this night though. It wasn’t the usual dream plagued by fire nor was it scenes where his hands are covered in blood and dust filled air from debris; so the presence of his brother alone wasn’t enough to ease him back into a peaceful sleep.

Actually, it wasn’t a nightmare at all.

“I kissed Teruki.” Shigeo says, and Ritsu makes a strangled noise. “In my dream.” He laughs pathetically, turning his head away from his brother.

Ritsu didn’t laugh, or tease him. Instead, he simply asked “Are you in love with Hanazawa?”

Shigeo pretended to ponder on his answer, not wanting to embarrass himself by the certainty of his feelings.

“I think so.” These words were spoken so quietly that Ritsu could barely make them out, but he knew the answer as soon as his question was left lingering in the air.

And now Shigeo was kissing Teru. Real lips pressed together, real hands grabbing at the fabric of each other's shirts,  real warmth, real actions, real feelings.

Shigeo isn’t sure what came over him in that moment. He’d gotten good at reading other people, especially Teru, so it’s not like he was just taking a shot in the dark with this, but he still can’t believe that he initiated it, and Teru wasn’t pulling away.

Holy shit, Teru wasn’t pulling away. He was letting out a delighted hum, placing shaky hands on Shigeo’s hips and pulling the pair closer. He was pressing forward, and Shigeo released one gripped hand from Teru’s shirt, moving it to caress his cheek lovingly, thumb swiping away a hot tear.

The dark haired esper’s head was spinning, his whole body was vibrating in response and he didn’t dare open his eyes in fear that it would all disappear before him. That it would end.

It was the same for Teru.

But then it did, with their heads knocking on the wood paneling on the underside of the top bunk harshly, sending them flying back to the mattress. Bouncing once, then again as they landed, their auras still intermingled in a swirl.

Teru cursed loudly as Shigeo whined in pain for a moment, but they were quick to focus back on one another.

“Teru, I--”

“Shigeo, I--”

They both rushed to speak at the same moment, two pairs of cheeks colored pink and lips tingling. Teru gives his best friend an awkward nod to say ‘you first’.

Shigeo swallowed hard, tips of his ears feeling as if they were burning.

“Ah…” He breathed heavily, and a handful of his nerves were expelled with it.

“Teruki...I like you. A lot.” Teru tightens his grip on Shigeo, excitement twinkling in his eyes. It made Shigeo’s heartbeat fasten, and the corners of his mouth twitch upwards.

“I have for awhile. I just really like being around you, and I think about you a lot. And...and…” Shigeo huffs in frustration, attempting to search for the right words. He wished they could come out easy like they had for Teru, and for a moment he felt stupid. But then he remembered this is Teru; who’s looking at him with a completely love struck expression, who said that he’s amazing and smart and strong and handsome and inspiring. Who, Shigeo was nearly 100% positive, was in love with him back.

He didn’t have to find the right words, or wax poetic...he just had to be Shigeo Kageyama.

So he leaned forward, and pressed their lips together for a second time. And then for a third. Each time feeling more heavenly than the last.

Teru’s eyes fluttered open as Shigeo finally pulled back, and for a moment he looked almost disappointed. If Shigeo had been a weaker man he would have dipped his head back down. But he was firm in his new found resolve.

“It’s kind of funny that you mentioned how I inspired you, Teru.” The blond’s eyebrows furrowed slightly, and Shigeo took a moment to tuck his best friend’s hair behind his ear.

“Because you did the same for me. I admire you, Teru.” This causes the other to let out a surprised noise, opening his mouth to protest but Shigeo was quick to continue.

“There have been many times where I felt hopeless, especially in the past few years. Moments when I would lose faith in myself, my ability to change, to be good. My faith in others. But watching you grow into gentleness right in front of me, each and every day...helped me keep believing.” Shigeo wasn’t crying, but Teru was beginning to sniffle again.

“And it seems your charms got to me along the way.” He added, looking away from the other for the first time in a long while. His aura was contained to his person now, but barely. It was as if it was being controlled by a subconscious fear that the other would laugh in his face and reject him.

But soon, his aura was exploding back out, engulfing both of the teens and meshing with the blond’s as if it were second nature.

Teru was kissing Shigeo, sloppy and enthusiastic.

And Shigeo kissed him back, with the same lack of expertise and matching fervent.

The pair noticed when they began to rise this time, and were quick to lower themselves to avoid potential concussions. And when they did, they laughed. Fingers intertwined, ribs aching and smiles wide as they did.

“I doubt there is a luckier person than I, Shigeo Kageyama.” Teru states, barely above a whisper after catching the other’s eyes.

“Wrong, because I’m definitely the lucky one, Teruki Hanazawa.” Shigeo responds, leaning in towards his best friend again.

At some point, the two had fallen asleep in each other's tender embrace, soft glow still surrounding them both.

Shigeo and Teru would wake in the morning, yearning for only a moment as they assume it was all just a dream, but their auras pulled them together, and the truth was clear. And sweet and beautiful.

(By some miracle, when Tome came home around 6AM, neither boy was awoken by her gleeful shout)