A Dance With Fireflies
By Nefarious Nix
Falling in love is unexpected. He goes most of his life without a need for it. He finds it easier to understand and experience a deep-seated bitterness that roils over into what he believes is hatred. It blinds him and drives him for all the wrong reasons, until he meets them. Eden. The unit serves as nothing more than a steppingstone towards something greater, at first, but now? Now…
A hand passing frantically to and fro inches from his face pulls him from those thoughts. Apparently, the princess pines for his attention. When he provides no response and merely stares Hiyori down instead with the most neutral of expressions, it grants the reaction he expects. The puff of Hiyori’s cheeks, the abrupt way he presses closer to put his face mere inches from his own. The ‘Jun-kun isn’t listening to me very well—'blah blah blah—insert something about foul weather here is familiar. Well. He can do without it, but there’s something to appreciate in Hiyori’s words.
As stupid as it sounds, the fact his attention is wanted by someone like Hiyori is something he won’t easily admit to needing in his life. Knowing he can make Hiyori gravitate to him is a mystery on its own. Jun is nothing like Nagisa. He realizes this very early on-- the weight and power Nagisa and Hiyori harbor. It’s like being overshadowed by radiance, but he never allows for it to completely swallow him up. No, if that transpires, he becomes useless to Eden as a whole. Too stubborn to let that happen, he fights to keep his footing among Cospro’s finest. He must be doing something right, because Hiyori stops threatening to replace him and currently is self-absorbed with repeating his name until he responds to him.
It must be important if Hiyori is being so persistent, so he reaches out to catch Hiyori’s face in his hands. His touch is gentle but firm enough to still him. Thumbs smooth over delicate skin and a small smile softens a rather fierce expression. Golden eyes soften and flicker with a silent recognition that he knows Hiyori is there and requires his full attention. Jun’s still going to do things his way, though and to spare him hearing of it the rest of the night he presses an apologetic kiss to the corner of Hiyori’s mouth. Too much affection, he feels, but it puts Hiyori in a good mood in a matter of seconds.
A squeal resounds from his partner and through temporary regret, Jun wonders how one being can make such a highly pitched sound. A grunt of protest leaves him when Hiyori throws his arms around him, makes declarations of fine weather and tilts his weight just enough to make them twirl about in the grass. Hiyori’s damn lucky Jun can handle that weight because carefully placed steps prevent them from tripping over Mary who dances excitedly around their feet.
Eventually, Jun’s hands caress at Hiyori’s waist to steady them both. Hiyori is so full of energy now, humming his pleasantries over a simple embrace. It’s getting easier to be affectionate with him, though even Jun can’t deny the makings of heat curling up his neck and flourishing along his cheeks. It takes everything just to kiss him and even more to hold him like this against a setting sun. Life really can improve around the right people. Jun realizes that the longer he finds a reason to solace in what he once believes is the most obnoxious and self-absorbed princess’ he’s ever met.
❝You’ve been eatin’ strawberries, Ohii-san.❞ He pulls away and crouches down to pay attention to Mary now. They both know it’s an excuse to keep Hiyori from noticing how easily embarrassed he is.
❝Mm mm~, for once I’m taste testing them to make sure they’re up to my standards for your special day! Aren’t you grateful for me, Jun-kun?❞
❝Ya shouldn’t have~…❞
Finally, he collects himself and looks up at Hiyori, regrets it the second they lock eyes. One look is all it takes to seize his full attention. Jun’s always thinks Hiyori is beautiful and there’s even more truth in it now that they’ve gotten closer. Hiyori is more than some obnoxious princess now that he’s let someone like Jun past what is loud and pompous. Funny how that works. Hiyori is still very much both of those things, but there’s times when Hiyori is more than that.
All of that surrounds them currently. Hiyori might appear as if he’s at the center of everything, but he knows Jun’s favorite park, his favorite foods, his moods, and even takes the time to arrange them out. A birthday picnic! He can hear Hiyori professing it with so much pride over and over again as he’s led over to an overdone arrangement to make this happen. Even Ibara and Nagisa will be coming to join them to celebrate.
It’s strange to have all this done for him. His birthdays are usually filled with sadness and something he’s better off forgetting altogether. This year is different. Hiyori is determined to make it the fine weather it deserves to be. It’s unlike him to set up anything after a hard day of practice—usually he leaves it up to Jun to figure out for himself. He’s never seen Hiyori cook either and always, always, always thinks so little of money that Jun usually ends up buying everything with what little he manages to hold onto. So, what changes?
Hiyori is overly eager to have Jun sing him praise. He can tell in the way Hiyori tugs at his hand to lead him over to a buffet of all the things Jun never believes him to pay attention to. He knows everything he likes. Really, he’s gone overboard trying to replicate it and it occurs to him that Hiyori is now ready to show him. The impatient tugs at his hand indicates that further as are the excited chirps of his name. Insistent as always. There’s just no helping it then, so he scoops Mary up into his arms and let’s Hiyori guide him over to what he’s not been allowed to look at.
❝You can look now, Jun-kun!❞ Hiyori sounds way too pleased.
He has every reason to be. After all, it surprises even him. Sunflowers, a stack of plates, and empty sections for many trays of different kinds of food to find their place along a picnic table. He imagines that the table isn’t good enough to work with Hiyori’s grand vision, because an expensive looking tablecloth hides it from view and merely compliments the arrangement. Hiyori hardly plans for them to sit there as a rather large blanket takes up a fair amount of space nearby. He can’t even picture Hiyori setting up the poles and the string of lights that connect each one of them around it. Those lights almost look like fireflies with the way they sway with a summer breeze.
❛How much did you pay Ibara to come over early to do this with you, Ohii-san? He’s gonna be black mailin’ ya for months~…❜
Still, it’s perfect. Perfect and even embarrassing to know even he’s worth this much effort. His hand tightens around Hiyori’s own and he realizes all too late that emotion wants to tighten at his throat and bring tears to his eyes. He tries to fight with it as he sets Mary down, but Hiyori’s words ruin it.
❝Do you like it, Jun-kun? It was my idea, but everyone pitched in to make bring some life to it!❞
He can’t answer. Too overwhelmed he can’t even look away until Hiyori gathers his face up into his hands and turns it to look at him. A beautiful arrangement suddenly is full of a beautiful face that soon lines with concern. That’s right. Hiyori’s never seen him cry. It’s not good to cry. He knows it gets him nowhere, but he can’t stop it now. Frustrated, he tries to nod his head and strangely enough, Hiyori seems to understand. He pulls him closer, a thrill of a laugh following as he starts to dote on him.
Gentle kisses pepper his face and he finds comfort in the arms that encircle him. Suddenly there’s a need to return it and after a moment Hiyori rocks them both. Hiyori’s tones can be soft as he sooths him and tries to encourage him to closer to a tree strung up with the very same lights. A blur of vision makes it harder to enjoy them, but when his gaze finds Hiyori’s face again, he finds the other is smiling.
❝We have some time before they arrive with the food. You can dance with me before then, won’t you Jun-kun?❞ Hiyori’s voice is all sing-songs.
Jun appreciates the distraction, is quick to nod and without looking away from Hiyori seeks his hands out with his own. There’s no need to discuss how they will dance or what they will dance to. It’s easy to tell just by meeting his gaze.
❛You can’t speak telepathically with him yet? ❜
Nagisa’s voice echoes out to him as they start to move. No need to indicate a right or left; a start or finish.
They’re already one. Jun Sazanami understands that more than ever now.
❝Happy Birthday to my dear Jun-kun~.❞
He doesn’t need to speak his thanks. Hiyori already knows.