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there's a world outside this room (and it's all for you)

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Inosuke's face doesn't fit his personality at all, not in the slightest, and Zenitsu says so as they lie down on neighboring beds after another joint mission gone messy.

"It's the only face I have?" Inosuke replies, cocking his head. He looks confused, and the fact that Zenitsu can see his expression is a rarity in itself. Normally he'd have put his boar mask back on by now, but for reasons Zenitsu isn't aware of and Inosuke seems too embarrassed to share, he's got a bump the size of a fist on the back of his head, and it must hurt enough that he doesn't want to put any weight on it yet.

"I didn't mean that you should change your face." Zenitsu turns around to look at Tanjirou, who's softly snoring in the bed behind his. "Hm, Tanjirou also has a pretty face, you know, but his actually fits him." Inoskuke makes a disgruntled sound and he turns back around to face him. "What?"

"Only Tanjirou can keep his face?" He asks, looking angry for reasons Zenitsu can't begin to guess. No matter how closely he listens, the way Inosuke thinks will never be easy for someone like him to understand. Zenitsu wasn't raised in the wild like him, maybe if he were a wild boar he'd be able to decipher what all the sounds coming from him mean, but alas, he didn't get raised by animals in the woods, so he'll have to get by on trying to figure out what Inosuke is thinking through his body language alone.

"I just said I didn't mean it like that, do you even listen when I speak?"

Inosuke scowls. "I listen, shut up!" He jumps off his bed, his bare feet silent when they hit the ground, and climbs onto Zenitsu's. "Make room!" he says, bumping against his side. Zenitsu complies, confused, and watches as Inosuke slips under the sheets next to him.

"What are you doing?" he asks, even though what he really means is 'why are you getting into my bed?'.

Inosuke clicks his teeth. "Look at my face, it fits!" He leans in, his face close enough to Zenitsu's that he could count his eyelashes if he tried. His eyes sparkle in frustration, so green and bright they'd be mistaken for one of those priceless jewels Zenitsu's seen the wives of rich men wear on their hair.

"Did you seriously come here just for me to see you up close? I've seen your face plenty of times already!"

"It's the only face I have," Inosuke says again, leaning back. And now he's sulking, arms crossed over his chest and face turned slightly away.

"I never said I wanted you to change it, what are you on about?! You're fine as you are!"  Zenitsu whisper shouts, aware of Tanjirou still sleeping next to them.

"Then why did you say Tanjirou's fits but mine doesn't?"

And, what the hell, is he insecure about his looks? Why would he even care about such a thing? He's never shown any interest in- ah.

"Are you-?" Zenitsu shifts closer, grabbing Inosuke's head with both hands and forcefully turning it to face him. "Do you like someone? Is that what this is about?" He snorts at the wide eyed look that falls over Inosuke's face. "Really? You've finally entered puberty?"

"I entered it long ago!" Inosuke says, grabbing Zenitsu by the wrists and pulling his hands off his face. "You're wrong!"

And Zenitsu would believe him, if not for the frantic sound of his heart drumming in his chest and the blush climbing up his face. Despite himself, Zenitsu feels heat creep up his face in response.

"Inosuke has his first crush, this is so funny," he chokes out, bringing a hand up to his face to cover his embarrassment. "Ah, Tanjirou!" He turns around, mouth open and ready to wake Tanjurou up and relay him the news, but before he can utter a word Inosuke tackles him from behind and they both fall to the floor in a tangled mess of limbs and sheets.

"What the hell!" He cries out, his chin stinging and his eyes watering at the pain of breaking Inosuke's fall. "What was that for?!"

He gets an elbow to his kidneys as an answer, Inosuke trying to move off of him in the clumsiest way possible. Tanjirou, the lucky idiot, remains asleep, completely unbothered by the commotion.

"Hey, Inosuke, are you really that embarrassed?" Zenitsu asks, pushing himself off the ground.

Inosuke is already back on the bed, watching him with an unreadable look on his face, and as Zenitsu climbs back up as well, he realizes his face is still bright red. He's seen Inosuke embarrassed plenty of times, he's good at putting himself in those kinds of situations and his enormous pride makes him vulnerable to embarrassment more often than most, but he's usually wearing his mask, so this is a look Zenitsu hasn't been privy to before. And, well, he still looks like the prettiest thing Zenitsu's ever seen in his life.

"I don't have a crush," Inosuke grumbles. He points a finger at Zenitsu's face. "You have a crush!"

Zenitsu raises an eyebrow. "Really? You're going with that argument?" Honestly, he's surprised Inosuke even knows what a crush is. But well, he's been spending time with the girls at the mansion so it's to be expected he'd learn a thing or two from them.

"Zenitsu, you...are annoying."

"A sudden insult?!"

Inosuke lets out a humph and crosses his arms. "First my face is wrong, then I like someone? It's pissing me off!"

"There's nothing wrong with your face! Stop putting words in my mouth!"

"But you said-!"

"I said it didn't fit! Because you're loud and you wear a boar mask and all you wanna do is fight and run around and make a mess, and yet, your face is pretty like a porcelain doll! It doesn't fit the rest of you at all!" He shouts, frustrated. He grabs Inosuke's face between his hands, squishing his cheeks. "But I like it! I like your face! There's nothing wrong with it! It's the best face there is!"

Inosuke stares at him in silent surprise, his eyes wide, eyelashes brushing against his fringe and the tips of Zenitsu's fingers.

"Wow, I didn't know Zenitsu liked Inosuke!"

Zenitsu lets go of Inosuke's face like it's on fire and turns to look at Tanjirou, who's apparently not as asleep as he'd previously thought. "What are you talking about?! You've got it wrong!" he squeaks out, his face so hot it feels like his skin might melt off his bones. "How long have you been awake? I didn't hear your breathing shift!"

Tanjirou rests his chin on his hand and smiles. "You were distracted by your confession, it's okay!"

"It wasn't a confess-"

"Confession?" Inosuke says from behind him. He crawls closer to him and stops once they're back to chest, both looking at Tanjirou. "Zenitsu confessed?"

"I didn-!"

Tanjirou nods, as if he's any kind of expert in this sort of stuff. "Sounded like a confession to me."

Zenitsu wants to deny it again, but before he can open his mouth he's being forcefully turned around by the shoulders.

"You confessed?" Inosuke asks, all curiosity and earnestness. His face is still red - Zenitsu wonders if it might be a new permanent feature of his.

"I didn't," he says. His own face is still red too. What if they become known as the matching red faced demon hunters? Just the thought of it is so embarrassing he could cry.

"You didn't?" Inosuke lets go of his arms. "Tanjirou said you did."

Zenitsu scowls. "I just said you're pretty! Tanjirou thinks so too, don't you?" He turns to Tanjirou, pleadingly.

Tanjirou frowns, visibly confused. "Yes? Nezuko's the prettiest, though."

"Yes, Nezuko's pretty too!" Zenitsu agrees, eager to change topics and end this crazy misunderstanding.

"But I'm the best face?" Inosuke asks, grabbing Zenitsu by the chin and turning him to face him. "You said that."

"Well, I mean-" he sputters, flustered beyond belief. Why did he say that, exactly? It's the truth, yes, but he never meant to say it out loud. And, yeah, he can see how it could've sounded like a confession of some sort, but he didn't mean it like that. He...didn't. Maybe. Probably.

"So I am the best face!" Inosuke says, and he's grinning, almost like he's proud of the title.

"Well, that's the sort of think you'd call subjective," Tanjirou says, and he sure is talking nonchalantly considering he's the one who derailed this whole conversation in the first place.

"Subjective?" Inosuke asks, cocking his head in question.

"Like, eye of the beholder and all that."

Inosuke frowns, and he's definitely not getting it, not at all, but then he looks at Zenitsu and says. "Zenitsu says so! I'm the best face."

"I didn't- I just-" Zenitsu tries to deny it, but stops when he realizes how pointless it is. He said it, there's really no going back now. Damn his big mouth.

"So, what's your answer, Inosuke?" Tanjirou asks, and god no, is he seriously going there? Zenitsu might kill him, he might really kill him this time.

"What answer? You asked something?"

Ah, he's gonna get saved by Inosuke's stupidity-

"No, I meant the answer to Zenitsu's confession, of course."

Inosuke looks at Zenitsu, who's desperately trying to hide his burning face behind his hands. Sorry, Nezuko, but he'll definitely need to kill Tanjirou after this.

"An answer...?" Inosuke says, deep in thought, and then he snaps his fingers and grins. "Yes, I get it!" He pulls Zenitsu's hands away from his face and replaces them with his own. "I think Zenitsu's face is the best of all too!"

"Eh?!"

"Ooh, nice!" Tanjirou says from behind them.

Inosuke is grinning like an idiot and looking expectantly at him. His blush is still present on his face but he doesn't look nearly as bothered by it as Zenitsu is. Why is this his life? Has he been cursed? Did he accidentally anger a god or something?

"Inosuke, Inosuke, I didn't confess! Stop! Let go of my face, I'll die! I'll really die!" He claws at Inosuke's fingers to no avail, and lets out a whimper when the other just squeezes his cheeks harder. "No, seriously, I'm getting a fever, I'm getting sick! I'm gonna pass out if you keep this up!"

He hears Tanjirou get up from his own bed and circle around to take a look at his face. "Aren't you just blushing, Zenitsu?"

Zenitsu stares at him, open mouthed. "You're an idiot! You big idiot, Tanjirou! Shut up!"

"What, why? I didn't do anything!"

"This is all your fault to begfhiin-!" He gets cut off by Inosuke, who's suddenly started massaging his cheeks in what he must think is a comforting manner.

"It's all good now! This is, what do you call it? Recipro- reciprocal? Reci-"

"Reciprocated?" Tanjirou asks.

"Yes! That! Reciprocated feelings, right? I've heard of it!"

"Sferioushly?!" Zenitsu pulls at his hands again, this time with more force, and manages to get them off his face. "This is not that kind of situation, at all!"

"You don't like Inosuke after all?" Tanjirou asks, and he's got a sad look on his face, like he's the one being rejected.

"I mean- I- that is-" he looks away, feeling his heart hammer against his ribcage. His ribs will crack open and his chest will burst apart, he just knows it. This is how he dies, out of embarrassment and some other warm tingly feeling he can't quite name.

"He does like me, it's fine!" Inosuke says. He leans forward and noses at the space between Zenitsu's neck and collarbones. "See, his pulse is racing."

Zenitsu stays frozen in place, too shocked to react to the sudden invasion of space.

"Uh-" Tanjirou says, looking worried. "Inosuke, maybe you should back away a bit, Zenitsu is looking a bit purple."

Inosuke leans away and looks at his face. "Hey, breathe!" He hits Zenitsu on the shoulder. "This is no way to die."

Zenitsu coughs, pushing his hand away in annoyance. "I'm not gonna die!" He shakes his head and then looks at Inosuke. "You know what, screw it." He plants both hands on the other's shoulders and takes a deep breath. "You're the prettiest, and you sound soft and gentle and loud and violent and it's very confusing to my ears and I can't stand it!" He leans forward and drops a swift kiss on Inosuke's forehead. "I do like you! There! Are you guys happy?!"

Tanjirou giggles, he giggles, and says, "I'm so happy for you!" The gall on this guy, the absolute shamelessness! Zenitsu wants to knock him across the head just once. Tanjirou claps his hands and then a look of realization falls over his face. "Ah, I have to tell Nezuko!" And just like that he's limping out of the room in his not yet quite healed legs, humming a song under his breath like he didn't just instigate the worst conversation Zenitsu's ever had to go through in his life.

"My head?" Inosuke says, and when Zenitsu turns to look at him he's rubbing at the spot on his forehead Zenitsu kissed. "It's not supposed to be the head?" He sounds confused, and Zenitsu just sits there and stares, completely giving up on trying to understand what he's talking about. Gibberish, all he says is gibberish. "It's not the head, Zenitsu."

"It's not the head what?"

"The kiss!" Inosuke moves so close their noses bump together. "Not the head, the lips!"

"What?!" Zenitsu tries to move away, almost falling off the bed again, but Inosuke catches him before he can tip over, his chest solid against Zenitsu's hands when he tries to steady himself.

"Like this," he says, staring intently at Zenitsu's lips. He starts to move forward, frowning when Zenitsu leans back as he does so. "Hey, stop that."

"We're not gonna kiss!" Zenitsu cries, covering Inosuke's mouth with both his hands.

"Whafh?!" Inosuke pulls his hands away. "Why not?! You like me!"

Zenitsu pushes him away with all his strength, managing to make him fall back in his surprise. He climbs onto his lap and brackets his head with both his arms. "No kissing, my heart wouldn't take it!"

Inosuke stares up at him with wide eyes, his face redder than before. "Uh- you have a heart problem?"

"No!" He drops his head onto Inosuke's chest, begging for mercy from the heavens. Why is this boy so dumb. Why, why, why. "I'm just...not ready for that, is all."

He feels a hand settle on his head, unusually gentle, and peeks up at Inosuke, who's looking at him with a strange expression on his face.

"The girls said you don't force things, so it's okay." He frowns up at the ceiling. "But you'll kiss someday, yeah?"

Zenitsu feels his heart skip a beat. "Y-yeah, sure, someday."

He feels something tug at his hand and watches as Inosuke laces their fingers together. He's grinning, as if it's some kind of accomplishment, and Zenitsu's almost 100% sure the girls at the mansion gave him the wrong idea about what holding hands means, because he looks like he's won a competition only he was taking part in.

He buries his face in Inosuke's neck and sighs, feeling the gentle beat of his pulse under his lips.

Oh well, things could definitely be worse.

 

 

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