Giyuu sighed. He had been struggling with his assignment for hours. He had always thought he was good with computers, but he was quickly proved wrong. There was a lot of stuff he didn’t know about computers, or so it seemed.
He closed his laptop shut. He couldn’t do this anymore, not today. Well, to be fair, it was almost midnight. It could hardly be called being done for the day, seeing as it was almost the next one.
What now? Giyuu rubbed his eyes. He wasn’t tired, he was frustrated. The several coffees he had devoured in the earlier hours wouldn’t exactly help him sleep.
For some reason, his room felt rather suffocating. He couldn’t go a second without staring at his laptop and feeling guilty about not finishing his assignment. He still had enough time, there was nothing to worry about.
Giyuu pulled his blanket over the thing. If he couldn’t see it then it wouldn’t bother him, right? Wrong. Not even the blanket could stop him from glancing there. The fact that it was covered didn’t change anything. He still knew it was there, right under the blanket.
He felt like he was going insane. That was college for you.
It occurred to him that he could always stand up and go out. Just go somewhere, anywhere, to get his mind off the stupid assignment. At least for a while. When he took his phone out and scrolled through his contacts, he came up short. There was no one he could call. Even if he had many friends, who was to say any of them would be willing to go out so late.
He shook his head. It didn’t matter. So what if there was no one to call. He had himself. It was enough. It had to be enough.
Grabbing his keys, wallet and jacket, Giyuu left his apartment. He no longer stayed in dorms, did that only during his first year at the college. If he was being honest, the dorms were hell. He couldn’t stand those people, always drinking, partying, doing drugs and dragging him into more problems and drama than he wanted to. As soon as the chance of living by himself was presented to him, he jumped at it.
Giyuu refused to think of the silence as something he didn’t like. He liked it. Maybe not always, but he simply refused to think about that.
He stumbled around the college town, surprisingly seeing several familiar faces. So maybe not all students were holed up in their rooms, studying, or sleeping since it was kind of late. Giyuu got himself a milkshake at McDonald’s. It wasn’t particularly good, but sweet enough. And he had heard somewhere that milk could make you sleepy. Maybe it would work and he would fall asleep right away, no thoughts of not being good enough plaguing his thoughts.
Inside McDonald’s, Giyuu recognized a group of people, all of them attended the same lecture. Giyuu didn’t let it bother him that none of them greeted him. They had seen him, it wasn’t that. He just wasn’t talkative enough. He never tried being sociable so this was what he got in return.
In the end, he didn’t feel comfortable enough sitting inside there all by himself. He never particularly cared that he was almost always by himself, but right now, in the late hours, he just couldn’t. Not when he would have to listen to the group joke around and laugh while he would slurp his milkshake in silence. That didn’t sound appealing at all.
He ended up sitting at a cold bench, on the edge of a park. There was enough lighting coming from the street but it was kind of dim. Giyuu considered going deeper into the park, tiring himself up with some walking. And that’s what he did, the almost empty cup of milkshake still in his hand.
A darker passage was getting closer. Giyuu would have to cross it, unless he wanted to turn around. The laptop that was still hidden under his blanket back in his apartment flashed in front of his mind. He shrugged. It was just few steps and then he would be almost out of the park. What could happen?
Even before he finished thinking it, Giyuu heard leaves rustling and something that sounded like footsteps, rather heavy even on the soft grass. Giyuu swiftly turned around and started retracing his steps. It’s not like anything would happen. It was just a park… At night… Perfect for muggers, rapists, drug dealers, all sorts of criminals and thugs, or so Giyuu imagined.
The sounds were getting closer, even if he sped up. The footsteps sped up as well. Just to test out his theory, Giyuu tried a slower pace. The footsteps slowed down as well.
His heart was about to give up. No, no, no. Of course his indifference led him to being pursued by god knows who. His hands started to tremble and he had to grip the milkshake harder in order not to drop it.
He continued walking. His heart beating like crazy. Why did he have to go into a park of all places? Why by himself? At night? The assignment didn’t sound so bad right now. He should have just swallowed it and kept on working on that.
Fuck it. Giyuu Tomioka was not going down without a fight.
Without any indication or warning, Giyuu spun around. Face to face with the person that had been walking behind him for several minutes now, Giyuu’s stomach dropped. The guy was taller than him, jacked and oh god, there were scars all over his face. Giyuu wasn’t going to live to see the sun rise again.
The white haired guy stopped in his tracks, hands in his pockets, his stance relaxed as if he hadn’t been following Giyuu for a while and making him almost piss himself with fright.
Without thinking, Giyuu threw the cup of the milkshake at the guy. They weren’t that far from each other. Giyuu didn’t know what he was expecting out of the almost empty plastic cup. It didn’t even reach the guy, instead pathetically falling few steps in front of him. The guy not even flinching.
“Dude, what the fuck.”
Giyuu was just standing there, not answering. His attempt at attack had utterly failed. Of course. He couldn't even do as much as throw a single cup.
The guy took a step closer. Giyuu took a step back. This seemed to make the guy understand what was happening. He gave out a rambunctious laugh. "I can't believe this. Dude, chill. I'm just walking to the bus stop."
Giyuu was sure his eyes were wide. He couldn't help but ask. "But you-" He was about to point out the guy was following him this entire time, even adjusting his pace to match his, but then he realized how ridiculous that sounded. The guy wasn't the one who switched directions in the last possible minute. Giyuu must have been so anxious his mind had played tricks on him. It was all just a coincidence.
He scratched the back of his neck, suddenly feeling rather awkward. He had assumed the worst. In his defense, the guy didn't look all that innocent and it was a night. No one could blame him for freaking out a bit.
"Sorry," Giyuu said, his voice flat. It was always like that, he didn't even think about it. He rarely showed emotions to begin with, his voice was no different.
He made a move to turn around, when the guy's indignant huff stopped him.
"That's it? You didn't even try. You could have seriously injured me with that thing." Giyuu doubted that was the case. The guy didn't stop there. "Hey, look at me when I'm talking to you. So what? You think you are so much better than me? 'Cause you have a pretty face and whatnot? Well, let me tell you something, pal-"
"I said I was sorry," Giyuu interrupted him before he could go on. Although he made a rather hasty assumption based on the guy's appearance, it wasn't that deep. He didn't think of himself as the better one. He never did. "Sorry," he repeated just for a good measure before turning around at last.
He could hear the guy calling after him but he didn't turn around. At this point he just wanted to go home, regretting ever stepping out. There were no footsteps behind him. Not that he could hear.
All the emotional shock and the walking resulted in Giyuu feeling rather exhausted, the coffee he had that day completely forgotten. He was close to just dozing off right there on the street.
Maybe the guy was telling the truth, Giyuu pondered as he saw the bus stop just outside the park. He was probably really just walking to a bus stop.
It wouldn't hurt to take a bus back. Inside the metal thing, there was a smaller chance of running into further trouble. Giyuu did his best not to fall asleep as he waited for the bus.
There were no problems as he got in and found a seat at the back. There were just few people inside. Everyone mostly drunk students getting home from whatever bar. Giyuu could smell the alcohol and smoke reeking from them as he passed.
The bus was about to take off when another person hopped on just before the bus door could close. Giyuu's breath caught in his throat.
As the white haired guy walked through the middle of the bus, one woman from the group of the drunks put her hand out, patting his muscular arm. Giyuu couldn't say he blamed her. This guy's built was impressive, and also rather scary. Another scary thing was the glare he shot her. Giyuu would hate to be on the receiving end of that.
Today was his unlucky day, it seemed. As soon as the guy passed the group and his eyes met with Giyuu's, the glare was back full force. Giyuu shivered involuntarily, immediately dropping his eyes and instead looking out of the window, as if the dark streets were the most interesting thing he had ever seen.
The seat he was sitting on dipped as another body sat down beside him. He didn't have to look to know who it was. It could only be that man. Giyuu could see his own reflection in the window and right behind him was the man, obviously looking at him. Giyuu gulped, getting uncomfortable and scooting closer to the window. Not that it helped much. The guy was massive compared to him, his body occupying most of the co-joined seat at this point.
"Hey, milkshake guy, I wasn't done talking."
"You know? What the hell does that mean?" Giyuu could tell he was getting angry again. There was something about Giyuu's short and devout of emotion replies that riled him up. "Why did you leave then?"
Giyuu could only shrug. He didn't owe this guy anything. There was a bit of silence. The guy staring intently at him, he could tell, and Giyuu still very much not meeting his eyes and looking out of the window.
The artificial lights and gentle rocking of the bus made Giyuu even sleepier. It was just a few minutes before his head started nodding off and his mind going blank.
"I think I get it," the guy resumed talking, his voice calmer and more hushed in the quiet bus. He was facing forward, no longer drilling a hole into the back of Giyuu's head. "You got scared, I mean, I see why."
Giyuu was barely keeping himself awake. He only hummed in acknowledgment as the guy talked. His words sounded far off as he drifted off.
"It's not that my face is the most pleasing to the eye. Dude, I see those scars every day, trust me, I know." There was silence again, the man frowning before laughing lowly. "Usually, you're supposed to say something like 'nah, dude', you know. Just to be polite. And I wasn't following you, before, I mean. I swea-"
His eyes turned to Giyuu again. He finally noticed that he was asleep. "I swear I wasn't. Sorry for scaring you, I guess. I could have walked past you but you seemed like such an easy prey. Shit, that sounded wrong. Ugh, but you would get what I'm trying to say if you were up, right? It was pretty weird when you slowed down but what could have I done? I couldn't risk somebody getting to that pretty face of yours. Goddamn, imagine if you ended up looking like me. Now that would be a real shame."
The man didn't really know what he was doing, essentially talking to himself, but it felt good, getting it out. He never had anyone to talk to, anyone to listen. The sleeping guy wasn't listening per se, but it was enough.
"Shit, I don't know where his stop is." Now how was he supposed to wake him up if he didn't know?
“And it’s always Giyuu this and Giyuu that… Do you know how angry that makes me? Ayumu won’t shut up about him. Every time I finally decide to ask him out, he starts talking about that fucking Giyuu guy.”
Genya kept nodding his head once in a while as he listed to Sanemi vent. He was plenty busy eating his cereal to say something back, not that he would actually consider saying something back.
Sanemi was standing by their kitchen counter, making himself coffee and a toast. He turned to Genya again, gesticulating wildly. “I haven’t even met the guy but I already hate him, he ruins all my plans and he doesn’t even have to be there to do it. I swear, when I finally meet him, I’m gonna deck him.”
Genya swallowed. “Maybe don’t do that?”
“No, fuck it, I’m doing it. I’m so done with him. If that prick is in a hospital for a while, then I won’t have to listen to Ayumu gush about how he did this and that.”
Sanemi was out of it again. Genya sighed inaudibly into his cereal. He didn’t feel like pointing out that if Giyuu was in hospital, Sanemi would most likely end up in prison, or something like that.
They both finished their breakfast and headed out. Genya wasn’t going to say it out loud, but he was glad they had parted ways for the day. He wasn’t sure for how much longer he would be able to listen about Giyuu. Sanemi didn’t even know him and Genya was pretty sure that he was unaware that he spoke of Giyuu more often than he did about Ayumu. It was kind of ironic.
Sanemi walked to his lecture. He had one later, around noon, but Ayumu usually spent his morning around the campus and he wanted to see him. Sanemi wanted to talk to someone. Someone that wasn’t his brother or a sleeping stranger in a bus.
Laughing to himself, Sanemi recalled the guy. He had woken him up just few seconds after his heartfelt apology. They guy had been totally oblivious to what Sanemi had said and he was not about to repeat it.
As soon as the guy was awake, he became wary of Sanemi again. He could see it in his body language. The guy tried to stick himself to the window and Sanemi couldn’t help but move even closer. The guy squirmed in his seat. Sanemi found it extremely hilarious.
Just to spite him a little more, when the guy had told him he needed to leave the seat, Sanemi only turned his legs a bit to the side, he hadn’t bothered to stand up and so the guy had to squeeze himself through him. He was obviously flustered and uncomfortable and Sanemi only beamed. This was his revenge for the guy attempting to throw a cup at him.
Sanemi had finished their encounter with ‘See ya, milkshake guy.’ to which the said milkshake guy hadn’t reacted at all.
In the campus, Sanemi headed for the computer science department. He was bound to see Ayumu there somewhere. His assumptions proved right when he spotted a familiar figure and dark hair several steps in front of him. It was undoubtedly Ayumu, but he wasn’t walking alone. Next to him, another guy with dark long hair was walking. Sanemi got the strongest sense of déjà vu.
“Hey, Ayumu,” Sanemi shouted at the duo as he sped up to catch up to them.
“Oh, hey, Sanemi.” Ayumu stopped in his tracks and turned to him. “I don’t think you two have met, Sanemi this is Giyuu. Giyuu this is Sanemi.”
Sanemi saw red. Giyuu, the bane of his existence, and love life, was standing right there in front of him. Only it wasn’t just Giyuu, it was also the milkshake guy.
“You’re fucking Giyuu?”
The milkshake guy, no Giyuu, frowned at him, obviously confused at his sudden rage. “Yes.”
“Sanemi, what is this about?” Ayumu was just as confused, but he wasn’t as quiet as Giyuu, he wouldn’t just stay silent. “I was sure you two didn’t know each other.”
“We don’t. And so what?”
“So what? Why are you acting like this?”
Giyuu was observing them, their conversation that was quickly turning into a fight and he didn’t like it. “I have to go now.”
Both Sanemi and Ayumu immediately stopped talking, their eyes on him. Ayumu was the first to talk. “Really? But we only just got here. Well, I guess there ain’t no helping it. I will call you later, okay?”
“Sure,” Giyuu said. He didn’t spare Sanemi a single look as Ayumu addressed him but maybe he should say something. He didn’t want Ayumu to see him being impolite to what seemed to be his friend. “Nice meeting you,” he said before walking off, leaving the two behind.
“As if,” Sanemi muttered but Giyuu was already too far to hear it. Ayumu, on the other hand, wasn’t.
“Do I need to say it again? What is your problem with Giyuu?”
“My problem with Giyuu? I don’t have a fucking problem with Giyuu.” Like he was admitting to Ayumu that Giyuu stood in his way because Ayumu was always around him. Sanemi took a deep breath to calm down. It was what his therapist had suggested. He had had several anger management therapies when he was still in high school. They helped, but he still sometimes couldn’t help his temper.
He shouldn’t be talking like this, not with Ayumu, especially not when Ayumu was the guy he liked and not the guy he was angry at. He was angry at Giyuu. “Do you have some free time later today, how about getting some burgers?” Sanemi asked.
“Oh, I’m sorry, Sanemi. That sounds great, but I already made plans with Giyuu, we have an assignment and we figured it would go better if we did it together.”
“We figured? Don’t you mean, he figured?” Sanemi couldn’t help the snide remark.
“Well, yeah, but he is one of the best in our major, it will only do me good to see him at work, you know.” Ayumu laughed. There it was, that gushing and compliments thrown so nonchalantly at Giyuu that Sanemi couldn’t stand.
“Okay, I’ll see you around then.”
Sanemi let him walk away, just like Giyuu did a few minutes before him. He turned around with a scowl. “Of course. Freaking Giyuu. Goddammit.” He felt like throwing something, or breaking something. Oh, yeah, throwing something right now would make him feel so much better. Sanemi kicked at the leaves under his feet, but it gave him little to no satisfaction.
Giyuu was the perfect guy. Or so Ayumu made him sound. He was the best in their class, he was smart, he was pretty, he was kind but kind of quiet, but he showed his kindness through his actions. Sanemi could go on, Ayumu talked about him so much. How was Sanemi supposed to fight against that guy? Giyuu was apparently already winning. For some reason, Sanemi doubted Ayumu talked about him just as much as he talked about Giyuu.
However, to Sanemi, Giyuu was nothing but a stuck up asshole. Kind of cute when he was asleep, but Sanemi refused to acknowledge that. He hated Giyuu. Nothing would make him change his mind.
Giyuu liked Ayumu. Or at least he thought he did. It was hard to say because he had never really liked anyone, much less loved anyone. But he thought this might be it. Or maybe he just wanted some company and Ayumu was as far as he could get.
Ayumu was the only one who sought out Giyuu on their own in their class. Everyone else came to him only if they needed something but not Ayumu. He was nice to Giyuu. It had been a really long time since anyone was there for him, really there just simply because they liked him and enjoyed spending time with. It had been a few years actually. Giyuu would never forget that.
Today was another one of those days. Giyuu was sitting alone in the lecture hall, no one eager to sit by him unless there were no other seats left open. But when Ayumu entered the hall, he immediately waved at him and took a seat to his right.
He made a bit of small talk with Giyuu, not really minding his curt answers. Ayumu had started asking him about his plans and whatnot to which Giyuu mentioned the assignment. Their whole class had it and Giyuu had been rather surprised to find out that Ayumu was doing rather bad with it. Giyuu had thought it was only him having so much trouble.
And then, Ayumu's eyes lit up as they talked and he had told Giyuu the great idea that had just popped into his mind. He had suggested that Giyuu and he get together and work on the assignment, order some pizza. Make it responsible but also fun. Giyuu didn’t see why refuse. He didn’t hang out with people, because no one ever asked him and he surely wasn’t the one to initiate but he liked being invited and he never said no.
The lecture went by fine and Giyuu was about to head back to his apartment, after all, today he only had one lecture to attend. It was a shame it was in the morning though. He could have slept in if it wasn’t.
Ayumu, however, hadn’t been willing to part his way with Giyuu just yet and that had been how they had encountered the guy Giyuu had met the previous day. Sanemi. He had never heard of him. Ayumu never spoke much about his friends or acquaintances. Giyuu simply assumed Ayumu was like him, by himself more than with people. It made him like Ayumu a bit more. Giyuu felt like Ayumu could relate in a way.
They had talked a bit with Ayumu about the assignment and about the exact time when Ayumu would come to his apartment, since Ayumu’s dorm was pretty small and he had to share it with a roommate. And then they had been interrupted. For a second, Giyuu was curious. He hadn’t been curious in a long while, but seeing Sanemi in such a different setting made him wonder. Could it be that Sanemi was also a student there? Surely not in their major. Even though Giyuu wasn’t that great with remembering faces, he was familiar enough with people from his lectures, Sanemi, he wasn’t one of them. He hadn’t even noticed him around before. Though that sole fact didn’t say much about Sanemi, more about Giyuu’s lack of care. He was so bad at taking in the people around him. It was pathetic. He was pathetic. No wonder those people never cared to approach him. One sew what they reaped.
And so Giyuu had decided leaving the two of them would be a better option. Better for him. The previous day, Sanemi seemed easily ticked off, but Giyuu was sure he hadn’t done anything too outrageous to him. The plastic cup never even touched him. He hadn’t done anything to warrant such a hostile greeting from him. It was easier to just leave. It wasn’t like he was going to meet him again. Giyuu pretty much attended his lectures and classes, went to the library when he had to and did groceries. That was all in his schedule. He had told himself no more late-night walks through the park. No more Sanemi and the likes of him.
True to his word, Ayumu had later called him to make sure he had gotten the time right. He had and then he was at Giyuu’s apartment door, knocking, his laptop bag by his side. Giyuu let him in, eager to start on the assignment.
In the end, their evening didn’t turn out quite as Ayumu had proposed it. There was no pizza. Though Giyuu didn’t mind, he wasn’t particularly hungry. The assignment that both of them were supposed to work at, each on their own, didn’t go like that at all. Ayumu, at first, had asked Giyuu for some pointers in the coding and suddenly they had been working on Ayumu’s assignment alone for three hours straight.
He didn’t mind helping out his friend. That wasn’t the issue. He only regretted not getting much work done on his own assignment. He knew it needed a lot of polishing on top of it not being finished yet. He should have started working on it before Ayumu came by, Giyuu thought and regretted using his free time for lounging around his apartment. He couldn’t afford to waste any more time that way.
It was pretty late when Ayumu finally left and Giyuu hated himself for feeling the relief he did when he had closed his door behind him. It had been a taxing day. Now, Giyuu realized that he wasn’t hungry, no, he was actually starving. He couldn’t even remember the last time he had eaten. Unfortunately, he had been counting on the pizza and so now he was left starving and with an empty fridge. He would have to go grocery shopping again tomorrow.
He was about to order the pizza himself but the line didn’t connect. They were closed already. No matter what he had told himself, Giyuu found himself putting on his shoes and a jacket, ready to head out for a quick dinner at McDonald’s. They would be still open at this hour, he knew that much. After all, he had been there just yesterday, but that was at an even later hour. He was bound to find some food there. Before he left, Giyuu took an umbrella with him. The weather forecast didn’t sound so good. He would rather be safe than sorry.
True to the forecast, a light drizzle started after he had made barely a dozen steps. By the time he was halfway to the McDonald’s, it was pouring. Thank God, he had taken the umbrella. It was rather big, especially to him. He didn’t need all that extra coverage but that only meant he wouldn’t get wet so he wasn’t complaining.
“Motherfucking son of a bitch.” Giyuu heard a voice yelling from a street to his right, or to be more precise, Giyuu was about to pass an intersection and from the street that crossed the one he had been walking along, a voice came. That voice being awfully familiar.
Giyuu cursed his shitty luck just as an empty can came rolling in front of his feet, making him halt his step in order to avoid it. He really didn’t fancy slipping or tripping on it in the heavy rain. His eyes followed the direction where the can had come from. His gaze traveled all the way up from drenched sneakers to an equally drenched and pissed-looking Sanemi. He was holding a denim jacket over his head, but it didn’t seem to do the trick. Trickles of water ran down his exposed arms. Giyuu looked away.
Maybe Sanemi wouldn’t recognize him. The visibility wasn’t the same in the dark and the rain. Giyuu averted his gaze quickly and hurried to the crosswalk. The light was red.
Someone stopped right beside him, waiting for the light to turn green as well. Giyuu didn’t have to turn around to know it was Sanemi again. He could hear the other’s angry muttering clearly enough. Something about lights and audacity of some Genya for hogging all the umbrellas and forgetting them at work. Giyuu had no idea who this Genya was, but it explained Sanemi’s lack of safety of an umbrella.
“Want to share?” Giyuu said. The words came out of his mouth sooner than he could think about them. Now Sanemi would surely know it was Giyuu and he would surely get angry again. Get angrier, that was.
Sanemi’s eyes went wide as he bent his head to look at Giyuu. Giyuu supposed shock was a better reaction than anger. “The umbrella,” he clarified.
Seeing as Sanemi was still staring at him, his mouth gaping, Giyuu simply pushed his hand that was holding the umbrella a bit higher, Sanemi was taller than him, and put it over Sanemi’s head as well.
Sanemi flushed, Giyuu could see the pink hue on his cheeks even through the scars, the tips of his ears were red as well. Giyuu had caught him by surprise. He hadn’t expected it, not from Giyuu who was in his mind nothing but a prick who only cared about himself.
He averted his face from Giyuu, not saying anything and Giyuu was glad. He didn’t mind the quiet, long used to it and Sanemi hadn’t lashed out or refused his offer. That was good. Giyuu didn’t have any strong negative feelings toward Sanemi and it bothered him a bit to see the guy drenched in the rain. He was rather sympathetic, and his umbrella was big enough for two, even if Sanemi was buffer than an average person.
The light turned green and they crossed the road together. “Where are you going?” Sanemi asked him, the angry tone that he heard him use when talking about that Genya person was gone. Now, Sanemi sounded calm. He had put down the jacket that he had been holding over his head before the umbrella replaced it, and was clutching it in his hand now, in the one not facing Giyuu.
“McDonald’s huh,” Sanemi mused. “Some French fries sound pretty good right now.”
“You were also heading there?” Giyuu couldn’t help but ask. He was the surprised one now.
“Nope, but I am now,” Sanemi said. There was a hint of amusement in his voice. Giyuu’s head spun from the speed at which Sanemi changed his moods. He was so chill right now, but Giyuu was sure it would take just one word, or just one simple action for Sanemi to lose his temper. Giyuu never knew what to think. Sanemi always reacted differently from what Giyuu was expecting.
Giyuu nodded his head. He didn’t think much about Sanemi’s answer. Maybe he had also been planning on getting same late dinner somewhere and now that the umbrella was going to McDonald’s, he was too.
They continued walking in pretty much silence, the only sound being the heavy raindrops and their own steps. It soon became obvious that there was a bit of an issue with this umbrella sharing.
Sanemi stopped mid step, Giyuu immediately halted as well and looked up at him, confusion painted all over his face yet again.
“Wh-” Giyuu was about to question him but was rudely interrupted by Sanemi.
“What?” Giyuu finished his original question, still equally not getting it.
“The umbrella. The freaking umbrella.” Sanemi’s voice got louder with each word. “Give me that freaking umbrella.” He put his hand up.
Giyuu wasn’t reacting, his voice was blank, but inside, he was shocked frozen. Sanemi huffed, not willing to wait any longer and snatched the handle of the umbrella and pried it from Giyuu’s hand.
“Why are you so fucking slow,” Sanemi muttered under his breath and Giyuu didn’t say anything back. He was right.
Sanemi held the umbrella a bit higher than him, even if Giyuu had tried holding it as far as he could for Sanemi to walk alongside him comfortable enough. Giyuu wasn’t about to complain, but his hand had started cramping a while ago.
He wondered if Sanemi would just take the umbrella and leave him by, even if it was Giyuu’s. If Sanemi wanted, Giyuu wouldn’t be able to do anything. But to his surprise, Sanemi made a step forward and once he saw that Giyuu wasn’t there he whirled around.
“The fuck are you doing? Get under it,” Sanemi said as he retraced his step to the still Giyuu who had been getting rained on since he had hesitated. So he wasn’t leaving him.
“Put your hand around my waist,” Sanemi said all of a sudden. “What? Don’t give me that look and just fucking do it. It’s not that hard.” Sanemi rolled his eyes.
“I- I can’t do that.”
“And why the fuck not, dollface? I can’t guess how fucking fast you’re going, or slow, in your case. Just. Fucking. Do. It.”
There it was. Sanemi losing his cool over something Giyuu had done. Giyuu wasn’t sure what the problem here was. It was true that for a while now, Giyuu strained to hold the umbrella high, but he also had to hurry to match Sanemi’s strides. “It’s not my fault you have longer legs.”
Sanemi barked out a laugh, pressing the back of his hand, with which he was still holding the jacket, to his forehead. “Oh God, fine. Then hold my shirt. Is that okay with you? Will you feel comfortable?”
Giyuu could tell Sanemi was mocking him right now. “Not really. You obviously hate me and I don’t even really know you.”
“Don’t you think that’s going a bit too far? I don’t hate hate you. I just find your existence annoying.”
Giyuu frowned. They were standing in the middle of the street, in the dark and rain. Too close for Giyuu’s comfort but there wasn’t much to do about that under the umbrella. “Is that supposed to make me feel better? That’s the same as hate.”
“No? It’s not? Okay, maybe not your existence, but Ayumu talks about you all the freaking time and that’s annoying as fuck.”
“That’s hardly my fault.”
“Oh, I don’t know. If you gotta be so perfect at everything, maybe it has to do something about you,” Sanemi spat back.
“I’m not perfect. I’m not perfect at anything.”
Sanemi was throw back by the deep sadness that reflected in Giyuu’s blue eyes. He wasn’t making himself sound deliberately humble like the asshole Sanemi thought him to be would. He seemed genuinely sure of his own incompetence. A wave of guilt passed him as he looked into those eyes and he regretted everything he had just said. Why was he even hating on Giyuu in the first place? He didn’t even know him. Not really.
“I don’t hate you,” Sanemi said in a softer voice.
“C’mon. Just hold the shirt, I don’t mind. I can’t match your pace any other way, so get over it and hold it.” Sanemi was back to his normal self. Being so soft felt weird. He barely even recognized himself back there. He cleared his throat as if that would make it go away.
Giyuu didn’t reply. Sanemi had turned away from him, not able to look at him for longer or else he would blush because of how soft he went back there. He was hoping Giyuu hadn’t noticed.
Sanemi didn’t say anything when he felt a pull at his shirt at his back, close to his side, but there was a lopsided grin on his face.
The rest of the walk to the McDonald’s was uneventful. Sanemi held the umbrella with no problems. At some point Giyuu leaned his hand on Sanemi’s side as he held the shirt in his hand since it was more comfortable that way but Sanemi didn’t comment on it. He didn’t want to scare Giyuu away because despite all, it worked. Every time Sanemi felt Giyuu’s hand getting a bit further, he slowed down his pace. Besides, if Sanemi was being honest, he didn’t mind the hand there. It was the only source of warmth he had in this rainy night. He couldn’t even wear his jacket since it was nothing but a wet cloth right now, so it was rather nice.
Sanemi opened the door for Giyuu when they arrived at the McDonald’s. It only made sense. Since Sanemi was the one with the umbrella, he had to come after Giyuu. It kind of didn’t occur to him that Giyuu was perfectly capable of opening the door for himself. However, Giyuu wasn’t the argumentative kind of person so he just muttered his thanks and slipped inside.
Giyuu immediately noted the number of people inside. Far more than yesterday it seemed. It was rather surprising given the rain, but these people could have been inside for longer than it rained or maybe they sought out shelter here.
Sanemi handed him back the folded umbrella and Giyuu took it tentatively. The thing was dripping water all over the place. With a slight frown, Giyuu took it to a table that was not occupied yet and put it there. No one was ordering any food right now so it was unlikely that anyone would mind him reserving the seat.
When he was done putting away the umbrella, Sanemi was already there at the register, his eyes up on the wall, looking for what to have. Giyuu approached him and stood behind him, patiently waiting for his turn.
“What are you having?” Sanemi glanced at him from behind his shoulder. Giyuu automatically told him what he usually ordered. He always ordered the same stuff and since Sanemi had asked him like that, it felt like he was talking to the actual McDonald’s employee, albeit a bit informal.
Sanemi nodded, turned around and repeated Giyuu’s answer to the worker behind the counter.
It then dawned on Giyuu that he hadn’t heard Sanemi say his own order, so that meant… “Were you waiting for me?” He must have ordered his part when Giyuu was by the table.
“Yeah,” Sanemi said as he fished out some bills out of his wallet. He didn’t even spare him a single glance as he focused on the money. “It’s on me. As a thanks, for lending me the umbrella and shit.”
Finally, Giyuu blushed. “That was not necessary.” Giyuu did it without expecting anything in return and he would have done it again.
“Well, it’s done now so you better deal with it.”
Giyuu didn’t protest any further. He had a feeling Sanemi was stubborn. As he had shown before. No matter what Giyuu had said, he had still ended up holding his shirt. They would probably still be standing there in that street if Giyuu hadn’t eventually done it. Fighting with Sanemi over something like this seemed like an already lost fight.
With their food done, Giyuu took his and walked to the table. He sat down and started eating silently. He stopped with a fry mid-way to his mouth when he saw Sanemi taking a seat opposite of him and putting his tray down.
“What? You got anything to say?”
“No.” Giyuu ate his fry. He ate another one and then another and then after a while, he couldn’t help it. He was simply too curious. “Why are you sitting here?”
“Why shouldn’t I? Should I sit alone? That would be just awkward, especially when you are here and are sitting alone as well? I don’t see a reason why not sit together.”
“I guess.” Despite what he said, Giyuu had a feeling it would be more awkward for him if Sanemi was sitting there. However, he didn’t voice his worries.
Sanemi seemed finally calm and content when he was eating and so he left Giyuu alone for a while. To Giyuu’s surprise it wasn’t awkward at all. He liked sharing a comfortable silence with someone. And this felt just like it.
Three guys came inside the place with big racket. Giyuu recognized one of them from his lectures, but he couldn’t recall the guy’s name. Giyuu noticed that they hadn’t quieted down at all even after they ordered and sat down. He felt a pair of eyes on his back, heard them muttering something and he was sure it was about him. It must have been. They weren’t subtle at all. Giyuu closed his eyes, willing himself not to care and just ignore them.
Sanemi, on the other hand, had a bit different temper. He threw the box of fries that he had been holding in one hand to the tray, making Giyuu cringe as most of them spilled out, and wiped his hands on a napkin furiously. It was beyond Giyuu how Sanemi could make even such a simple thing as wiping his fingers so aggressive.
Sanemi stood up, his glare borderline murderous. “Oi, dumbasses.” The few guys at the table a bit behind them all quieted in an instant, their eyes going up and resting on Sanemi’s glare. They hadn’t missed the defined muscles under Sanemi’s still rather wet white shirt on their way. If Giyuu turned around, he would see all off them pale instantly but he was too busy ogling those same muscles.
“Yeah, you three right there.” Sanemi pointed at them. Even the cashier was getting nervous. The pop songs playing in the background made the atmosphere rather surreal. “What’s your fucking problem, huh? You think I’m blind or deaf? Mind your own fucking business.”
Giyuu knew what was going on. He had felt their stares, but he couldn’t see them, Sanemi who had been sitting in front of him was facing those people. He turned around and saw one guy, the one he didn’t know, get rather red-faced instead of white as his companions.
“Dude, chill, we were just talking among ourselves, what is your problem?” The red-faced guy got angry as well. He accentuated the ‘your’ part rather ironically.
This seemed to have done it for Sanemi. He laughed like some maniac. Giyuu imagined him rolling his sleeves if he had any that could be rolled. “Oh, man. That’s rich, really. Woah, you got me.”
When Giyuu saw him crack his knuckles, he knew this situation wasn’t just going to solve itself. Sanemi was ready to throw hands.
Giyuu quickly cleaned his fingers of the salt from his food and reached out past the table. He grabbed Sanemi’s wrist. “Don’t.” His eyes were pleading as Sanemi looked down into them.
Seeing that Sanemi wasn’t moving, Giyuu pulled. It took him a lot of effort, he even had to use his other hand to pull Sanemi back down. Frankly, Giyuu was using all of his strength and it was just barely enough. If Sanemi started resisting, Giyuu with his pathetic strength would be done for.
Sanemi didn’t fight him as he was pulled into the seat next to Giyuu, not the one where he sat before. Giyuu wanted to limit the potentially dangerous situations somehow so he figured if Sanemi wasn’t facing those dudes, he would be calmer. He didn’t know that what really calmed Sanemi down was the warmth radiating from Giyuu’s touch.
He was still fuming but he didn’t say anything further and so Giyuu thought it was a win. He let go of Sanemi’s hand and reached across the table to get Sanemi’s tray back to him when that one guy started speaking again.
“Need your boyfriend to calm you down?”
Sanemi was out of the chair in an instant, Giyuu barely even saw him move, only feeling a slight gush of air. He couldn’t stop Sanemi as he rushed to the other table and picked up the guy by his collar. “Say that to my face again, you homophobic piece of shit.”
The guy smirked right in front of Sanemi’s face. “You need your disgusting boyfriend to calm you down?”
Sanemi sent the guy an awfully fake smile before kneeing him right into his groin. The smirk instantly disappeared from the guy’s face as Sanemi let go off him. He doubled in pain. Now that it got this far, Giyuu and the guy’s two friends swarmed around.
“Sanemi,” Giyuu said as he got to him. He was clutching the umbrella and Sanemi’s jacket close to his chest, feeling more and more uncomfortable by every passing minute. They could get in real trouble if more of a fight broke down. This was already bad enough.
The two guys approached Sanemi from his back, but Giyuu was there so he stepped in their way. He didn’t know what exactly caused Sanemi to lose it right now, but when they had insulted him, Sanemi jumped into action so Giyuu only assumed he should too. At least a bit. He wouldn’t let anyone get to Sanemi from his back, even if he had to use his umbrella to fend them off.
He quickly glanced at Sanemi behind him, they were almost back to back now. Giyuu put his hand behind him, not daring to take his eyes off of the guys again. He ended up with a fistful of Sanemi’s damp shirt. Knowing that there was someone with him in this situation, someone who had his back, felt kind of grounding.
“Sanemi,” he repeated his name. “Let’s go, c’mon.” Giyuu pulled at the shirt in his hand, indicating the urgency. He would rather be out there in the rain than here in this tense atmosphere. Better leave before anyone got seriously hurt or the cashier called the cops.
“I didn’t know you two were dating,” said the only guy Giyuu recognized. If Giyuu had recognized him, there was a big chance that he also knew Giyuu.
With a sinking feeling, Giyuu realized that maybe Sanemi got this angry not because of Giyuu being insulted but instead because they had assumed Giyuu was his boyfriend. Maybe Sanemi felt offended that they could even say such a thing, offended that they dared insinuate something more was between them.
Giyuu slowly let go of Sanemi’s shirt. “We’re not dating.”
Sanemi felt the lack of Giyuu’s hand on his back immediately. He spun around, not caring about the guy. He was still howling in pain anyway. He was no threat to them in his current state. “That’s beside the point. If I hear shit like that from that pathetic excuse of a person y’all call your friend, it ain’t gonna end with one fucking kick, is that clear?”
The two of them weren’t as brave or dumb as their friend so they simply nodded, not picking a fight, knowing they stood no chance against Sanemi. He looked pretty intimidating.
Sanemi only scoffed at the lot of them and walked around the guy bent over there. Giyuu was still occupied with his dark thoughts, feeling rather ashamed for assuming Sanemi was fighting for him when he surely wasn’t.
“C’mon,” Sanemi called out to him, turning to face Giyuu. “You said you wanted to go so…” Sanemi outstretched his hand and took Giyuu’s who finally snapped out of it with the touch, “…let’s go.”
He let Sanemi lead him out of there and refused to look back at the three people there, four, if he counted the cashier, but that one didn’t participate in all of that. Giyuu was kind of jealous. He wished he hadn’t participated too.
It had stopped raining a while back, though Giyuu noticed only now. He was still clutching Sanemi’s jacket in one hand along with that umbrella. Sanemi was still holding his hand, but Giyuu barely even noticed. He was more concerned about where Sanemi was leading him. He didn’t get the chance to ask because Sanemi was already talking.
“I’m taking you to this new place, it’s just a few blocks away. They are open even this late and they make one hell of a pizza.”
“But-” Giyuu started to protest within a second. Sanemi had already bought him food, they were even now. Why was he inviting him to get more food now? There was a little voice at the back of his mind, telling Giyuu that maybe Sanemi kicked the guy not because he minded their assumptions, but actually because they were attacking Giyuu verbally. That maybe Sanemi truly didn’t hate him, true to his words back there in the rain.
The voice sounded awfully like Sabito.
“No buts, you didn’t even get to finish your food,” he said. “We didn’t get to finish our food,” Sanemi swiftly corrected himself, realizing his mistake and clearing his throat.
“Did I fucking stutter, dollface? I’m treating you to some pizza, so don’t complain.” Sanemi averted his face, already feeling the tips of his ears reddening as he was about to add something hesitantly and rather quietly compared to his usual tone. “It was kind of my fault we had to leave so just let me do this to make it up to you.”
Giyuu couldn’t see his face, he couldn’t tell what Sanemi was thinking, but doing this seemed important to Sanemi.
“Okay,” Giyuu said after a while of silence, squeezing the calloused hand in his subconsciously, the edges of Sanemi’s scars rough against his skin, but pleasantly so. Maybe today wouldn’t end so bad. In the end, Ayumu hadn’t ordered him the pizza that he had promised. In the end, it was Sanemi who was about to, and Giyuu had a feeling Sanemi wouldn’t turn back on his word.
Giyuu became hyperaware of the hand that was holding his after the adrenaline of everything that had went down at the McDonald’s faded from his bloodstream. His heartbeat sped up for a different reason, not from fear, but from something he couldn’t really identify, the emotion foreign to him.
“You’re holding my hand,” Giyuu said in a small voice, his eyes on their holding hands.
“Yeah,” Sanemi muttered but Giyuu had a feeling he wasn’t really listening to him. Sanemi was glancing around them, from one side to the other and for a second, Giyuu thought they might be lost.
Sanemi didn’t let go just yet, leading Giyuu this way and that. There was a growing frown creasing his forehead. They were lost, Giyuu was sure now, but he didn’t say anything. Sanemi seemed determined to get them to the pizza place no matter what and Giyuu didn’t really care if it would take few extra minutes to get there.
The frown disappeared all of a sudden and a small smiled took its place. Giyuu couldn’t look away.
“You’re still holding my hand.”
Sanemi stopped in his tracks and looked down at him, his smile going away. Giyuu missed it immediately. It was a nice sight. “Jesus, okay, fine,” Sanemi dropped his hand, “there, you satisfied now?”
He was already looking away when Giyuu’s eyes went to his now empty hand. He felt the cold air hit his warmed up skin. “That’s not- I didn’t mean-”
“Look, we’re here,” Sanemi said enthusiastically at the same time Giyuu tried to speak. Sanemi hadn’t heard him. “See? It’s right there.” He looked expectantly at Giyuu.
“They’re still open, I knew they would. Let’s go.” Sanemi reached down and took Giyuu’s hand again, not even thinking about it, leaving Giyuu speechless as he jogged behind Sanemi.
Giyuu wondered why Sanemi kept taking his hand. Maybe he was just a touchy person. Maybe he had younger siblings and was used to taking their hands. Or maybe he just wanted Giyuu to follow him and not stay behind so bad he took his hand. Giyuu pushed the last one far back into his mind. That couldn’t be it. He probably just thought of Giyuu as slow so he did it to lead him faster. That must have been it.
This time round, Giyuu got there first and was about to open the door but then he realized he was still holding the umbrella and Sanemi’s jacket. He had totally forgotten about that. Sanemi would have to let go of his hand if Giyuu wanted to open the door somehow.
Giyuu turned around, finding himself too close to Sanemi’s chest. “I can’t open the door.” Giyuu’e eyes met Sanemi’s.
Sanemi didn’t drop his hand as Giyuu had expected but instead, he reached around him and pulled the door open. Giyuu supposed it didn’t matter in the end how he got inside as long as he could.
Then, surprising even himself, Giyuu took the initiative for once in his life and pulled Sanemi behind him to a table in the back. They sat down, their hands finally breaking apart. A waitress was immediately there, giving them the menu and asking for their drinks. She was back in just a few minutes.
When it was time to order the pizza itself, Sanemi asked him what he liked, and Giyuu just told him to pick whichever one. They decided to split one, since they were hungry but not exactly starving.
Sanemi told the waitress the name of the pizza he wanted. Giyuu hadn’t been here before so he didn’t recognize it. He guessed it would be a surprise. Just one of many that day.
Now that they had to wait, Giyuu had some time to look around. This place was rather nice and obviously new. No wonder Giyuu hadn’t heard about it yet. He only ever walked the same routes to the same old places and he didn’t have friends who would tell him about a new establishment in the town.
“Do they do deliveries here?” he wondered out loud.
“Why? So you don’t have to go out at night and chance meeting me? As if I would tell you.” Sanemi crossed his arms. Giyuu frowned, not sure if Sanemi was actually hurt or angry right now or just faking it.
“I didn’t mean it like that,” he said slowly.
Sanemi laughed out loud, startling a couple few tables down with the loudness of it. Sanemi’s laugh was rather booming. A huge contrast to Giyuu’s usually quiet life, but he didn’t mind. He found it rather refreshing, and pleasing. “I’m just messing with you. Yeah, they deliver stuff. And pretty quickly. I swear to God, this place has it all.”
Giyuu nodded in acknowledgement, mulling it over. He would have to remember the name of this place and google their phone number later. He often forgot himself and then found himself with an empty fridge so having a place where he could order from even in later hours was a blessing.
Their wait was filled with Sanemi telling him all about his engineering course at their university. Giyuu had no idea he was an engineering major so he listened to everything intently, occasionally nodding along or quipping in with short questions. Before they knew it, their food was being delivered.
Giyuu cringed as he saw the broccoli topping. He wasn’t very keen on eating broccoli. Sanemi, on the other hand, started to devour the pizza almost immediately. Giyuu tried to subtly pick all the broccoli pieces and put them on a growing pile on the side of his plate.
“What are you doing?” Sanemi said with his mouth half full when he noticed Giyuu’s weird behavior.
Giyuu shrugged. “I don’t like broccoli.”
“Dude, you should have said something,” said Sanemi after he swallowed the bite.
“I didn’t recognize the name,” Giyuu said as if it was the most obvious thing.
Sanemi’s mouth fell open. “Then you should have said something,” he repeated in an exasperated tone.
Giyuu was looking at him, his expression blank. He wasn’t going to complain or anything. He was good enough with the cheese on the pizza.
Sanemi shook his head but he reached out with his fork and started transferring the broccoli onto his own plate. “I ain’t gonna let you waste a perfectly good broccoli,” he muttered almost angrily.
Giyuu understood what he was doing so he picked up his own fork and helped him with the transfer. After that, nothing further happened and they ate in a comfortable silence, listening to the songs in the background.
When it came down to paying, Sanemi pulled out his wallet. Giyuu’s hand shot out immediately, ending up on Sanemi’s forearm.
Sanemi frowned and slapped Giyuu’s hand away, not putting much force into it. He understood right away what Giyuu was attempting. “I said it was on me, if you mind so much, you can pay next time.”
Next time? Sanemi wanted there to be a next time? Giyuu let him pay, his thoughts a jumbled mess.
Outside, on the street, Giyuu held out the jacket to him. “Here.”
“Oh, my jacket.” Sanemi took it. “Why are you giving it to me now, though?”
“Well…” Giyuu didn’t know what exactly to say. They were going their separate ways now, weren’t they? When else should he have returned the jacket to him?
“Right, you thought I was just gonna let you go now, huh? As if. Look at yourself, you are tiny. It’s dangerous out here, like I’m letting you walk home alone. You couldn’t even throw a cup.” Sanemi shook his head and started walking.
Giyuu turned red as he remembered the plastic cup incident. That wasn’t one of his proudest moments. Giyuu didn’t move right away, staring at Sanemi’s back. “It’s the other way.”
Sanemi swiftly turned on his heel as if nothing had happened and strode past Giyuu purposefully.
“Slow down,” Giyuu said after he had to jog few steps to catch up with Sanemi.
“You know what to do,” Sanemi said in a sing song voice, not turning around and not slowing down.
Giyuu wasn’t one to lose his cool, but this made him pout. Sanemi must really be enjoying messing with him. He had to jog again and when he was finally next to him, Giyuu reached his arm around Sanemi’s waist. This time, he didn’t only grip his shirt. A soft pink dusted his cheeks. “Seriously.”
Sanemi’s body rocked with laughter as he threw his own hand over Giyuu’s shoulders. “See, dollface? It wasn’t that hard.”
Sanemi matched their paces. Giyuu didn’t have to run to catch up. He could have shrugged off the arm, but it felt nice, especially now that the cold breeze picked up and goosebumps erupted all over his skin under his still uncomfortably damp clothes. Sanemi must have felt the breeze too because he subconsciously pulled Giyuu closer to him and Giyuu squeezed his waist almost automatically.
During the past few hours they had spent together, Sanemi hadn’t once thought about Ayumu and neither did Giyuu, not really.
They were already in the residential area not far from their campus when Giyuu pulled away from Sanemi all of a sudden. “This is me.”
Sanemi looked at the apartment building in front of them. “Fancy.” Before he could say anything more, Sanemi sneezed.
Giyuu frowned. It was well past midnight at this point and it was cold and would only get colder. Ever since he had met Sanemi on that crosswalk, he had been wearing only a wet t-shirt. If Giyuu’s clothes weren’t dry and he had had an umbrella from the moment he stepped outside, then Sanemi’s shirt must have been damp as well.
“Come inside,” Giyuu said in that flat voice of his, making Sanemi choke on air.
“Damn, how forward.”
Giyuu really needed to be more detailed in his talk. He wasn’t a man of many words, but this was just ridiculous. “You will catch a cold at this rate, come inside. You can take a shower at my place. I’ll find you something dry to wear on your way back.”
Sanemi laughed, but didn’t protest. “Careful, dollface, I’ll think you actually care about me.”
“Stop calling me dollface.”
“Would you prefer handsome?” Sanemi leaned in closer, attempting to be smooth, but his attempt didn’t exactly work out as he sneezed again.
Giyuu rolled his eyes. “I’d prefer Giyuu.”
He led Sanemi upstairs into his apartment. Sanemi watched him put away the umbrella and take off his wet shoes and so he did the same. He also left his jacket out there, hanging by the entrance, just like Giyuu did. Sanemi felt like a puppy, watching and copying everything Giyuu did. He had never thought he would end up in Giyuu’s apartment. In the apartment of the very person he thought he hated. After today, he wasn’t so sure anymore. Scratch that, right now, he couldn’t even properly remember why he started hating him in the first place.
Giyuu turned to him. “Bathroom is right there.” He pointed to the door on his left. “You should find everything you need in there. I’ll go find you some clothes and a bag for your wet stuff, so take your time.”
“Thanks,” was all Sanemi said. Giyuu didn’t have to go this far for basically a stranger. Sanemi supposed they weren’t strangers anymore, not after tonight.
Giyuu let him be after that and walked further into his apartment, disappearing behind a door which Sanemi assumed was his bedroom. Sanemi shrugged and went to the bathroom. He didn’t lock the door behind him, expecting Giyuu to stop by with the clothes at some point. Besides, Sanemi wasn’t shy, nor conscious of his scars. At least not about those not marking his face.
He stripped of his damp clothes and hopped into the shower. The hot stream felt heavenly on his freezing skin.
Meanwhile, it was safe to say that Giyuu, standing in front of his closet, was struggling. He didn’t think of the fact that he and Sanemi had very different built when he invited him over. There was no way any of his clothes would fit him properly.
Giyuu wasted no time on himself. He got out of the damp clothes and put on the first sweatpants and a shirt he could find. He pulled his hair into a low set bun and started rummaging through his closet. There must have been something loose or stretched out that would fit Sanemi. There just had to. He wasn’t about to send him off in those wet clothes of his. That just wasn’t happening.
He found an old sweater. It was woolen and thick, perfect for cold winter days. It was one of Giyuu’s favorites. He wasn’t too keen on parting with it, in case he wouldn’t see it again, but it was the only thing that would fit Sanemi and his ridiculously big muscles. He also found black harem pants. It was better than Giyuu’s tight fitted jeans, Sanemi would never fit into those, even if these pants weren’t exactly warm. They would do.
The last item Sanemi would need was underwear. Giyuu’s face was bright red as he searched through his underwear drawer, hoping what he picked would be okay with Sanemi.
He found a bag and took it along with the clothes. Giyuu knocked on the bathroom door. “I got the clothes, I’ll just leave them here by the door,” he said, his voice raised so that Sanemi would hear.
“You can just come in, I don’t bite,” he yelled back, amusement clear in his voice.
He got no reply from Giyuu. He assumed Giyuu had left the clothes by the door like he had said he would. Shrugging, Sanemi pulled the towel up to his hair, drying it. He had found the pile of clean towels with no problem. He had taken only one.
The door slowly creaked opened. Sanemi lazily turned his gaze to the door, still drying his white hair.
Giyuu wasn’t looking at him, at least not right away. His eyes were downcast, but if he wanted to find a place where to put the clothes and the bag, he eventually had to look up. And look up he did, only to come face to face with stark naked Sanemi.
His face burned and he pretty much threw the clothes at Sanemi, who dropped the towel in his hands around his neck so he could catch them. “I hope they fit,” Giyuu said quickly, it sounded like one word jumbled together.
Flustered and embarrassed, he immediately left the bathroom as quick as he arrived, Sanemi’s loud laugh accompanying his hasty retreat.
Sanemi took his sweet time drying off and putting on the clothes. The underwear Giyuu picked was a bit tight, but it would do. Sanemi almost burst out laughing again, thinking how awkward it must have been for Giyuu to pick that one item, but he had to think about Giyuu’s neighbors. He couldn’t be his usual loud self at this late hour. The sweater fit just fine, the pants too, though his ankles remained uncovered. He felt much better now.
With a bag filled with damp clothes, Sanemi finally walked out of the bathroom. He left the bag by his shoes and patted down to where Giyuu was. He found him sprawled on the couch, one leg under him, the other hanging out, and fast asleep.
Sanemi was tempted to take a picture.
Waking him up felt wrong, his expression was so relaxed. Sanemi would have preferred to thank him before leaving, but he supposed Giyuu was pretty tired so he let him be. Well, to be more precise, he let him sleep, but before that, Sanemi pulled the leg that was resting under him and straightened it, along with his other leg, on the couch. He gently pushed his head down and placed a pillow under it. This way Giyuu wouldn’t wake up feeling all aching and with his muscles cramping.
There was a blanket thrown over the backrest of the couch so without even thinking about it, Sanemi immediately took it and lay it over Giyuu’s sleeping form. He couldn’t help brushing a few strands of black hair away from his closed eyes.
Satisfied, Sanemi was about to exit the apartment. When he was putting on his shoes he noticed a drawer there. On top of it, there was a notebook. He found a pen and wrote down a quick message.
I’ll return the clothes to you later. See ya around.
- Sanemi S.
He wanted to say he was grateful for the umbrella, that he was sorry for the fight he caused, that he had fun. He wanted to say a lot of things, but he didn’t want to wake Giyuu up and writing all that on a paper felt weird. He would just have to tell him later.
It was when Sanemi was just few steps before the apartment he shared with his younger brother that he realized that he had forgotten to write down his number on the note.
“… then I wrote the note and left,” Sanemi said, recounting the events of yesterday to his brother. He was lounging on Genya’s bed, one hand under his head, propping up a pillow. He threw the other hand over his eyes. “Fuck, how could I have forgotten about my phone number. I can’t believe this happened to me.”
“I can,” Genya muttered inaudibly. He was hunched over his desk, working on his math homework. Or he had been, before Sanemi had decided to make him his therapist.
Genya, seeing that it couldn’t be helped, turned around in his chair, sighing loudly. “Okay, let me get few things straight.”
Sanemi put down his hand and looked at him, a hint of annoyance already on his face. Genya didn’t say anything about that, although he felt like he should be the annoyed one. “I told you everything. What didn’t you get?”
“Several things actually.”
“Just say it, bitch.”
Genya rolled his eyes. “This is the same guy we’re talking about, the same Giyuu that you always moan about? Right? The one and only?”
“How many Giyuu’s do you think I know, dipshit? Of course it’s the same one.”
“And you went on a date with him?” Genya didn’t notice Sanemi’s paling face. He didn’t notice Sanemi shooting up on the bed, as he went on. “I mean, you talk about him all the time, and to be honest, I was suspecting you already had a crush, but I didn’t expect you to actually act on it, not so soon when you think you are still pining over that Ayumu-”
Genya was interrupted when a pillow hit him right in the face. “What fucking bullshit are you talking about?” Sanemi said, squeezing another pillow in his hands. Genya feared he would tear it apart.
“Stop ruining my pillows,” he yelled at Sanemi.
“No. Explain yourself.” Sanemi was yelling as well.
Genya gaped at him. How could somebody be so dense? “What am I supposed to freaking explain? Your own emotions? You’re the one who needs to use their brain and realize some shit. I can’t do that for you.”
Sanemi stood up abruptly, throwing the pillow he had in his hand in Genya’s direction without looking. Genya was already expecting it so he ducked but it landed on his desk, knocking some things over. “Hey!” Sanemi ignored him as he walked out of the room.
Thinking the matter was closed, Genya went back to his homework. He had put away the pillows and cleaned up the scattered objects before starting to read the math problem again. Pen in hand, the tip hovering over the paper, Genya was about to write the first number of the formula when his door opened.
“You gotta be-” he threw the pen back down next to his notebook. Sanemi walked quietly into his room and sat down on Genya’s bed. He took the pillow he had been almost tearing just few minutes ago and held it to his chest, sulking and quiet.
“Why did you think it was a date of all things?”
“You seriously need me to tell you that? Have you not been on enough dates to know?” Genya asked incredulously.
“Just tell me.”
“God, where do I even begin?” Genya sighed again, Sanemi was just being ridiculous. This whole thing was entirely ridiculous. Genya wondered how his brother managed to get into the engineering course when he was apparently as dumb as they get. “You had a heart to heart in the rain, held hands, you paid for the dinner, my God, you went for a dinner, twice. That’s like the most basic date thing. You fought for his honor, wouldn’t peg you for a romantic type, but well… you insisted on walking him home and you are still wearing the dumb sweater he borrowed you. Did I get it right?”
“Okay, I get your point, but it’s all just a coincidence, okay?”
“Sure.” Genya pushed himself away from the desk and faced Sanemi fully. “Let’s play a little game-”
“The fuck are you on?”
“Dude, just listen to me. You came here to bother me, not the other way around. So,” he straightened in his seat, “I’m gonna ask you a question and you are going to answer right away without thinking. The first thing that comes into your mind.”
“Fine,” Sanemi huffed.
“Why did you put a blanket over him?”
“Isn’t that obvious, dumbass? I didn’t want him to get cold.”
“Why did you kick that dude?”
“I had to! Everyone would do that if they saw Giyuu’s expression. He looked so hurt and resigned. I knew he wouldn’t do anything so I had to.”
“Why did you take his hand?” Genya shot another question at him relentlessly.
“I felt bad that he had to rush to catch up with me, it was tiring him out so I came up with a solution. What is the purpose of this game again?”
“Just answer, don’t ask. Do you still hate him?” Genya was getting closer to his final question. A question that he knew Sanemi would answer without hesitation.
While Sanemi was still in on the game, Genya fired. “Do you want to date Ayumu or Giyuu.”
“There you go,” Genya said with a smirk on his face. He turned his chair back around to his homework, ignoring the speechless Sanemi who had his jaw wide open, staring into space and processing.
“Hey!” he yelled at Genya after a while. “What did you just do?” He was red all over. Genya only shrugged his shoulder, not paying any more attention to him.
“I need to finish my homework so if you would be so kind…” Genya waved his hand in the direction of the door. With a huff, Sanemi stormed off. “The door,” Genya shouted. There was a storm of swears but Sanemi indeed came back to close his door. He shut them forcefully, but well, he closed them so Genya wasn’t complaining.
Sanemi, however, wasn’t so quick to accept the stuff Genya had told him. So of course, he had to find a way to test it. It wasn’t that late yet. Just late afternoon. He knew that Ayumu had a lecture around this time.
Walking into the campus, Sanemi waited by a bench which Ayumu would always pass by so Sanemi made sure to always wait there. Out of the corner of his eye, Sanemi noticed a sudden rise in activity, he immediately looked over there and stood up.
A whole bunch of people exited the lecture hall. Ayumu was bound to come sooner rather than later and then Sanemi would be able to confirm Genya’s hypothesis. He didn’t think of it as his. He still wasn’t sure, not hundred percent certain.
Sanemi spotted him, Ayumu, just as he had predicted, was walking in his direction. Sanemi frowned as he watched him get closer. Something was wrong. He usually felt a surge of excitement when Ayumu was walking toward him, but it wasn’t there.
He sat back down on the bench, waiting. He would talk to Ayumu, maybe he would feel it then. Sanemi turned his head to the side to watch him only to notice a mop of black hair right behind Ayumu. His heart skipped a beat.
But it wasn’t Giyuu. The guy’s hair wasn’t as long and it didn’t look nowhere near as smooth and shiny and fluffy as Giyuu’s, his eyes weren’t the deepest blue.
Shit. Sanemi realized something. Genya was right.
“Ayumu, hey, man” Sanemi rose from his seat as soon as Ayumu got within the earshot.
“Not today, Shinazugawa,” Ayumu said as he pushed past him, his shoulder hitting Sanemi.
Sanemi whirled around, the anger in him rising. He put a hand on Ayumu’s shoulder in order to stop him. “What the hell. What’s gotten into you?” He hadn’t called him by his last name in a long time. Something was not right.
“And just why would I tell you?”
Sanemi was stunned for a second. Why was Ayumu acting like this? So hostile? “C’mon, dude, we’re friends,” Sanemi said. He tried to maintain his composure, tried to keep his own anger out of his voice.
Ayumu had always been nice. He had never treated Sanemi like some thug just because he was bigger and had his scars. Ayumu would always greet him, always wave back. Sanemi couldn’t understand what was happening right now. He had never seen Ayumu quite so irritated before. Something must have happened. Sanemi shouldn’t lose his temper right now. Despite everything, he considered Ayumu his friend and he should be there for him.
“Friends? Really? I don’t fucking need you, I thought I did, but you’re just a brawny imbecile. Just let me be.”
Not caring about anything Sanemi had been mulling over a second ago, Sanemi balled his fists, gripping the sweater he was wearing in them. He needed someone to hold him back. There wasn’t anyone so the sweater had to suffice. “What do you mean?”
“Of course you wouldn’t get it. You, Giyuu… y’all are fucking same.”
“Hey, watch your fucking mouth. Don’t bring Giyuu into this,” Sanemi said in a low voice. He never thought something like this would have happened. Sanemi always hated on Giyuu, thinking Ayumu was a saint. Now he was starting to understand he had it all wrong. Right now he couldn’t even get what he saw in Ayumu in the first place.
Ayumu was finally showing his true colors. “Don’t bring-” he repeated with a mirthless laugh. “Now that’s hilarious. Weren’t you the one always hating on him? Don’t tell me you suddenly had a change of heart.”
“And so what if I did?”
“Oh, shit, you actually did, didn’t you? I guess Giyuu can be pretty useful but that’s about it.”
Sanemi frowned, he was getting a whiplash from how everything Ayumu said contradicted what Sanemi knew about him. It was Ayumu who had always praised Giyuu, making Sanemi dislike him in the first place. “What happened to you?” Ayumu sounded like a different person, as if he was possessed.
“Me? No, I’m perfectly fine. This is the real me, surprised? Like I fucking care. That Giyuu can rot and so can you.”
Ayumu was about to turn around but Sanemi was faster than him and caught his arm, keeping him in place. “You ain’t going anywhere until you tell me what the fuck just happened. This isn’t you, Ayumu.”
“You don’t know shit about me. We never really went out. You think I didn’t notice your constant attempts? It was pathetic. Even more pathetic than Giyuu. No one likes him so of course he went along with everything I said, but you, you didn’t have to, you have the body, I mean, there are those scars, that could make things a bit harder, but yet, you persisted. Like a kicked dog that keeps returning.”
Ayumu took a handful of the sweater, pulling Sanemi’s hand away. Sanemi’s grip went limp, not resisting one bit. He couldn’t muster any strength. Ayumu got his hand off right away. “Is that- Is that Giyuu’s favorite sweater?”
Sanemi went red in the face. It was Giyuu’s favorite? And he had given it to him just like that? His favorite? He was hurt, so damn hurt by what Ayumu had spat into his face, but knowing he had something of Giyuu’s so close to him, made the blow hurt a little less.
Suddenly, Ayumu doubled over, his laugh loud and out of place. “I get it now, why you are so protective of him. Oh my God,” he needed a second to calm his breathing down, “you are in love with him.”
Sanemi didn’t stop him again when Ayumu walked off, his cold laugh still echoing in Sanemi’s head. He didn’t have any strength left. Sanemi sagged down onto the bench he had been occupying before. While he had been talking to Ayumu, pretty much everyone had left the premises. It must have been the last lecture of the day.
With trembling hands, Sanemi pulled out his phone. He had Genya’s and his messages opened but he then realized that Genya would be at his part time job already at this time. He wouldn’t answer. Sanemi desperately wanted to call Giyuu, but he didn’t have his number and he didn’t even know if Giyuu would be willing to listen to him. He had a feeling Giyuu would, but it didn’t change the fact that Sanemi didn’t have a way of contacting him.
He had to talk to someone, he knew he did. If he didn’t, Sanemi didn’t know what would happen. He didn’t know what he would do. He could feel his anger bubbling inside him. He had been doing so well lately. And now, the anger was threatening to spill out, make him do things he would later regret. Sanemi was scared of the intensity of his own emotions sometimes.
He typed a random number into the bar, not really caring who would answer. He just hoped they would. He needed a distraction. Somebody who didn’t know him. Somebody who wouldn’t judge him. Somebody who didn’t know how he looked.
Sanemi: had a shitty day, you mind talking for a bit??
+81-905-***-1793: sorry. yeah, I guess
Sanemi smiled down at his phone. They answered. They didn’t mind.
Sanemi: thx, dude
+81-905-***-1793: you want to talk about why your day was shitty?
Sanemi: okay fine. i do
Sanemi: i thought i knew this guy, i even liked him but he turned out to be a complete asshole, told me some hurtful shit, i feel like kicking something just thinking about him
+81-905-***-1793: don’t think about him then
Sanemi: it isnt that simple
+81-905-***-1793: then make it
Sanemi: what if i don’t know how? there’s been so much stuff in my head today
Sanemi: everyone is telling me stuff, making me realize a lot and I dont know what to do now
Sanemi: i sound like a fucking teenager
Sanemi: just ignore me
Sanemi: wait, no
+81-905-***-1793: im here
Sanemi: im sorry to just unload this shit on you
Sanemi: ig my worldview just changed rapidly and i didnt know who to talk to
Sanemi: like everything i knew about certain ppl just changed overnight and what the fuck am i supposed to do with all this new information, you know
+81-905-***-1793: I think I get what you mean
+81-905-***-1793: something similar happened to me
Sanemi: oh shit, okay man
Sanemi: im sorry
+81-905-***-1793: not that similar, its good, i think
+81-905-***-1793: I don’t know yet
Sanemi: then thats good, at least one of us is doing better
Sanemi: you go for it, whatever it is, my random number friend
+81-905-***-1793: its tomioka
Sanemi: you go for it tomioka, you got this
There was a small smile on his face as he changed the contact info. Talking had calmed him down. He needed to get it out of his system. He didn’t care how. And it kind of worked. Sanemi was still pissed. He still felt like he might strangle Ayumu the next time he saw him but he no longer saw red. He felt like he was in control again.
Sanemi: no thank you
Sanemi: this helped
Sanemi: you helped, thx tomioka
that person: early morning lectures should be banned
that person: its torture
that person: fucking torture
When Giyuu woke up that morning, he found several messages from the stranger that had texted him the other day. He didn’t get a name and didn’t bother to ask for it, thinking that the stranger wouldn’t text him again so he just saved the contact under ‘that person’. It was weird texting with a bunch of numbers.
He had gotten sick from the nightly escapades in the rain with Sanemi. Giyuu wasn’t used to going out much except for school and the occasional outing so his immune system wasn’t exactly perfect. All it took was one, admittedly long, walk through the chilly night with damp clothes and he was done for.
Giyuu felt like shit if he had to be honest. His nose was running constantly, his eyes watering, his throat was dry and even swallowing hurt. He was sure his temperature was higher as well. All in all, the usual cold. If only he had the medicine he needed at his house. Unfortunately, he didn’t.
He wondered who to call. He really wanted to think there was someone who cared enough about him that they would at least take pity on him and buy him some medicine, but there was no one like that in his contacts.
The first person Giyuu thought of, for some reason, was Sanemi. But he didn’t have Sanemi’s phone number so he didn’t dwell on that idea for long, nor why it came to him as the first. He had other, more pressing issues.
There was Ayumu, though. Giyuu didn’t want to bother him. Ayumu was the only person who talked to him outside the class and during it. Giyuu even sometimes hanged out with him, although their hangouts were usually Ayumu’s idea and they, more often than not, ended up working on one of their school assignments. There was always some kind of assignment to deal with.
Giyuu tried calling him. He needed some help, surely they were enough of friends for Ayumu to drop by a store for him. Giyuu tried calling thrice. Ayumu didn’t pick up.
In the end, he had to find it in himself to stand up and will himself to buy the medicine on his own. No one was going to help. He put on the warmest clothes he had, regretting giving Sanemi his favorite sweater for which he would kill right about now, and getting out of his apartment.
The trip to the store was an utter hell. He couldn’t make it to school, obviously, so he was staying home. He didn’t know why Ayumu still wasn’t calling back. Giyuu knew he didn’t have more lessons. Now he didn’t need help with the medicine, but he would need to find out somehow what had been covered during school. Ayumu could really call him back.
He was pretty much doing nothing, just wiping his nose every other minute and generally feeling like dying when he had gotten the first message from the stranger. Then he got another few messages this morning. He should probably reply. He wanted to reply. He had nothing better to do unless he wanted to sleep. Again.
He texted back to the messages about the morning lectures. Giyuu himself wasn’t a particularly a great fan of them either. He would be enjoying his sudden free time if it also meant he could breathe without any problems, but alas, not today.
Giyuu hoped the guy, and he had a feeling it was a guy on the other end, would text back. In the meantime, Giyuu went to make himself some light breakfast. A thought of food almost made him sick. He had no appetite.
Probably the last real food he had was back then with Sanemi. He would never imagine himself enjoying his time with someone like Sanemi but he had been proved rather wrong. It wasn’t awkward. It was full of unexpected. Sanemi was always full of unexpected.
Giyuu wouldn’t mind hanging out with him again, despite everything.
that person: youre up
that person: did u just wake up
that person: lol dude its like lunch
He rolled his eyes. He was sick, he had a right to sleep in. Well, to be honest, Giyuu would sleep in even if he wasn’t sick, but this time round it wasn’t really his choice. He just didn’t have the energy to do anything else but sleep.
Giyuu: im sick, i can sleep for as long as i like
that person: bithc
that person: im lk jealous
that person: but like sorry youre sick
that person: gotta suck ass
that person: you got your medicine, right?
that person: not much of a talker huh
that person: can u say something other than yeah
that person: i swear to god, im gonna flip if u keep doing that
Giyuu: i wont then
that person: jk, dude.
that person: you’re good
He had made himself some food, forced it down his throat and then texted some with the stranger, and sure it was fun, but he was getting rather tired. Being sick was really draining. Giyuu put his phone away, about to take a nap.
For some reason, Giyuu felt like he was experiencing some sort of weird, long lasting déjà vu when he was talking to the stranger. Like he had already talked to him. There was something about the way he swore, about the way he said things. His last thought before he fell asleep was that his new texting friend sounded a lot like Sanemi. The fever was making him delusional.
Even though he had thought it was just the fever making him imagine things, Giyuu couldn’t shake the feeling that this person on the other end of their messages was awfully like Sanemi.
It was the things he said, his reactions, everything about him. When Giyuu had woken up from his nap he found a ton of messages from this person and the replies made him think of Sanemi again. Could it be him? Could Giyuu get that lucky?
At first, Giyuu wasn’t sure if it would be lucky to have Sanemi texting him, but then he recalled waking up feeling overall terrible and sick, but warm. There was a blanket over him and he was certain he hadn’t covered himself before. It must have been Sanemi. For all the brash reactions and arguments, Sanemi was a pretty good company. If Giyuu was perfectly honest, he enjoyed Sanemi’s wild nature, never knowing what to expect but always being pleasantly surprised.
He didn’t let his mind wander to naked Sanemi. That had nothing to do with it his feelings not being so negative. Absolutely nothing at all. He hadn’t even seen that much. But he had seen enough, his mind not so helpfully supplied. The red of his cheeks wasn’t solely the fever now.
that person: i said it was fine, okay?
that person: don’t go all depressed and shit on me
that person: I didn’t mean it like that
that person: I swear
that person: now stop ignoring me
that person: okay fine, you know what
that person: fuck u tomioka
that person: sorry
that person: that was too much
that person: I have issues
that person: my brother says I should apologize so I did
that person: now stop ignoring me
that person: dude what is wrong with u
that person: shit
that person: I realized smth
that person: oh god, im so dumb, dude, literally ignore everything I said
that person: shit, im sorry again
that person: you said you’re sick, I forgot
that person: I feel like the biggest asshole rn
that person: you’re probably asleep
that person: which is good, good for the fever and shit
that person: take your time man
Giyuu couldn’t help but smile as he read those messages. It sounded so much like Sanemi, but he had to stop thinking like that. He had been napping for several hours and based on the time when the messages came during the span of these hours, he could literally see how the mind of this person worked. It was rather entertaining.
Giyuu: I was taking a nap, don’t worry about it
that person: shit I feel so bad
The smile on his face increased, Giyuu not even aware of it. He was starting to like these small chats of their more and more. His heart leapt as he got a reply right back. He wasted no time in answering.
Giyuu: really, don’t
that person: but I meant what I said
that person: like the first thing
that person: don’t feel like u have to hide something or shit
Giyuu: if you insist
that person: that’s right, you bet your ass I do
that person: I gotta go help genya with his physics homework
that person: I swear to god, he would be so done without me
that person: ttyl dude
Giyuu sat up abruptly, his breath hitching. He was grateful to whatever omnipotent being that his nose was finally a bit cleared because if it wasn’t, he would have most likely suffocated.
He shuffled in the blankets, almost spilling the tea on the desk nearby, as he dove for his phone, the very same one he had dropped just a second ago and lost in the swirls of cotton and wool. Giyuu read the messages again and again, his eyes wide.
The stranger had mentioned a brother before, but a lot of people had siblings. Giyuu didn’t let it affect his theories. But now he had a name for said brother and he remembered very vividly an angry Sanemi muttering to himself about Genya who stole all their umbrellas. Sanemi had a brother and his name was Genya.
So it was him. It must have. Who else? It made perfect sense, even if it was one hell of a coincidence.
Giyuu couldn’t decide if he should text back and ask for a confirmation or something like that. Sanemi wasn’t aware it was Giyuu who he had been texting. Now that he thought about it, Giyuu had never told him his last name and neither did Ayumu when introducing them. Sanemi wasn’t in the same class or anything and there were a ton of students in their university. He had no way of hearing his name.
In the end, he supposed Sanemi wouldn’t like being led on, even if that wasn’t Giyuu’s intention. He himself only realized it now. He pulled open the chat and was about to text back when his screen changed, signaling a call, along with the ringtone. It was Ayumu. For a second, Giyuu felt like not picking up. Ayumu hadn’t called back in so long. It hurt in the beginning but then the stranger started texting him and Giyuu hadn’t really thought about Ayumu since.
Maybe Ayumu wanted to explain why he was ignoring him. Giyuu reluctantly accepted the call. He didn’t have a chance to say anything as Ayumu was speaking immediately.
“Come to the campus, we need to talk.”
“Is this urgent? I’m kind of sick, that’s why I haven’t been to the lectures these past few days.”
“Whatever, Giyuu. I need you to get here. We got some stuff to talk about so just get here.”
“Is it really that important? I don’t want to make anyone sick.”
“Who cares about that. Just come already.”
“Alright,” Giyuu relented at last. Ayumu ended the call as soon as he agreed. There was nothing Giyuu could do but go. He wasn’t exactly ecstatic about it but there was an odd seriousness in Ayumu’s tone. He sounded rather cold but Giyuu didn’t want to let himself overthink.
He put on several layers, already feeling cold before even stepping outside of his apartment. He had a yearly supply of tissues all over his pockets and his phone in a hand. When he glanced down at it, he noticed the chat with his stranger still opened. He forgot to reply. It would have to wait.
“I can’t fucking say it any other way. I already tried four times, man, if you don’t get it then you ain’t getting it on the fifth time,” Sanemi huffed as Genya told him yet again that he still didn’t understand what he was explaining to him.
“C’mon, just try again. Find another way or something.” Genya wouldn’t usually bother Sanemi with his homework, knowing how tempered Sanemi was, but the stuff in this homework would be in the exam tomorrow and Genya really needed to do well on it.
“There is no other way to explain it. It’s not fucking literature.” Sanemi was pulling at his hair at this point. He wanted to help, but Genya was beyond saving. “Dude, I’m sorry, but you ain’t passing this one.”
“But I have to.”
“Then focus on the other stuff, if you get just one question wrong, it ain’t gonna be the end of the freaking world. I have to go, just let it be, if you didn’t get it now, you’re not likely to get it on the fifth try.”
“Sanemi,” Genya called after him but Sanemi was already shutting the door of his own room, most likely getting ready for his own lecture. With a sigh, Genya turned back to his notes. Sanemi was right, he just didn’t get this one. He would just have to make more effort with the other stuff.
Sanemi took too long helping Genya with his school, now he was running late for his own one. Luckily, he managed to slip in unnoticed. Everything was going just fine until he exited the lecture hall after his class was over. Sanemi immediately picked up on the weird atmosphere.
There was a lot of people, which wasn’t unusual for this hour of the day. A lot of lectures ended around this time but everyone seemed excited, like something big had happened. People were talking among each other, in bigger groups here and there. It wasn’t the usual passing from one lecture to another or home. It was noisier today.
Sanemi wanted to know what was going on. For some reason, there was this sinking feeling in his stomach, like something was wrong. He pulled out his phone, checking if he had any messages or missed calls from Genya. There was nothing.
He looked around until he spotted a familiar face. It was Yutani, Sanemi’s not exactly a friend but a bit more than acquaintance. He knew him from gym and they hanged out once in a while. Sanemi was pretty sure Yutani was in the computer science course along with Giyuu and Ayumu. He headed his way.
“Yutani, oi, you got a minute?”
“Sure,” Yutani said with a lopsided grin as he turned to face Sanemi. “What’s up?”
“Dude, that’s what I wanted to ask. Something happened around here?” Sanemi tried his hardest to hide his worry. He had no idea why he was worrying in the first place. He shouldn’t have been. It was totally illogical.
“You can totally tell, right? It was wild, bro.”
“What was?” The sinking feeling was still there, only intensifying as his assumption was proven right. Something had indeed happened around campus while he was having a lecture. Then it occurred to Sanemi that he hadn’t seen Giyuu for a few days around the campus. He had seen Ayumu but Giyuu was nowhere around. If even Yutani was here, Giyuu should be too, unless something had happened to him. “Any chance it has something to do with Giyuu?”
Sanemi’s brows furrowed. Tomioka? As in his pen pal, or so to speak? Was he also a student here? Sanemi was confused to say the least. But as much as he enjoyed the talks, he was more concerned about Giyuu. “No, Giyuu.”
“Dude, Giyuu, Tomioka, it doesn’t matter how you call him.” Yutani laughed, only making Sanemi more confused.
“Giyuu Tomioka, that’s his full name, why are you even asking about him if you don’t know that? But yeah, it has everything to do with him.”
Sanemi’s heartbeat increased immediately. So he had been texting with Giyuu without even knowing it? Wait, that meant he actually had Giyuu’s phone number. His moment of happiness didn’t last long when his mind registered the rest of Yutani’s answer. “Well then tell me already.”
“God, okay, okay, I will. I didn’t know you two knew each other.”
“We do, so if you could speed it up a bit, I would appreciate it.” Sanemi was trying really hard not to sound sarcastic or to lose his temper right now. He was worried about Giyuu and Yutani with his nonchalant behavior wasn’t making it any easier for Sanemi.
“I think you know Ayumu, right? I saw you hanging out a few times? Anyway, we all know what an asshole Ayumu is. You know, between us, I think he sells drugs or shit like that, he is real shady, man. But well, I guess Giyuu didn’t know that, the dude couldn’t give a fuck about anyone around him and so when Ayumu started failing the class he stuck close to Giyuu. Dude, you had to notice that.”
“I did, but I thought Ayumu was kinda like Giyuu. Introverted or something.” Sanemi thought back to the fight he had with Ayumu. It seemed like Ayumu was truly different from what he had thought him to be but at this point Sanemi didn’t give a single fuck about that asshole. He was just reassured that it was good cutting him out of his life, even if Ayumu pretty much cut him off first.
Yutani laughed whole-heartedly. “Dude, no, not at all. I have literally never seen Ayumu alone somewhere. He is also pretty popular around bars here. He and Giyuu are nothing alike. We all saw what Ayumu was doing. Giyuu pretty much does all his assignments. It’s unbelievable, really, how he hasn’t noticed it, or maybe he is just so lonely that he doesn’t care, what do I know.”
Sanemi balled his fists at his side. “Are you telling me y’all know that Ayumu is using Giyuu and you didn’t do anything?”
“Dude, chill. It’s their business. Besides, nobody really likes Tomioka? I don’t know, man, the dude is always so cold?”
“He isn’t cold. He just doesn’t talk that much. But that’s no reason to just ignore it if you saw it.”
Yutani only shrugged, not feeling too offended since Giyuu was practically no one to him. “Anyway, few days ago, one of our professors called Ayumu out ‘cause she noticed his code and Tomioka’s were almost identical and Ayumu got into a lot of trouble. He might even be expelled and shit, I don’t know exactly but serious trouble, for real. We all know it’s not really on Tomioka but Ayumu blames him for all that shit.”
“He does? How would you know?”
“Oh, man, everybody knows. They were here just a while ago. Yelling at each other. Well, you know Tomioka. It was mostly Ayumu yelling. Okay, it was pretty much just Ayumu yelling.”
Sanemi paled. Giyuu had been here. He must have just missed him. He was fighting an urge to run to him right this instant but he told himself it would be better to get the full picture, as much information as he could from Yutani.
“Well, I guess the truth would come out sooner or later. To sum up their fight, Ayumu told Tomioka how he was just using him for school, that he doesn’t care about him at all, and was faking all that friendship stuff, it was really sad to hear. I’m pretty sure I saw Tomioka being close to tears.”
“To be honest, man, I don’t feel like repeating that shit. He just completely ended him. Like I get man’s angry but what he shouted in Tomioka’s face was really uncalled for.”
“I got it. Thanks man, see you around.”
With that Sanemi was walking away. Yutani called after him once but Sanemi was determined. He was a man on a mission now. He had to do something and nothing would stop him.
He was going to beat the living shit out of Ayumu. But later. Ayumu had to wait because right now Sanemi had to see Giyuu. Yutani said Giyuu was close to tears and god be damned if Sanemi wasn’t going to be there for him when Giyuu needed it. He didn’t care that Giyuu was a bit reserved. He was human like all of them. When he was sad he needed somebody to be there for him and Sanemi knew Giyuu didn’t really have anyone around. That was about to change because Sanemi was there and he was there to stay.
Knowing that he actually had Giyuu’s number, Sanemi tried calling him but he couldn’t reach him. Giyuu must have had his phone turned off or something. Not that it mattered to Sanemi. He was seeing him soon enough.
He texted Genya that he wouldn’t be coming home like usual and hurried to Giyuu. Good thing he knew where Giyuu lived, having already been there once. It took him a while since he was going on foot but it was surprisingly close to their campus. And with Sanemi close to full out sprint, he was at his door in a matter of minutes.
Sanemi had to take a minute to compose himself and catch his breath. Thank god he spent hours in gym. His stamina was pretty good so he didn’t break that much sweat coming here. He would hate for Giyuu to see him all sweaty and stuff.
He rang the bell.
It took several moments but the door opened. So painfully slowly. Sanemi fought the urge to grip them and throw them open. He could barely stand to wait a second longer.
Sanemi was speechless. Giyuu was in front of him, a blanket over his shoulders and a tissue in hand. His eyes were red and bloodshot, a hint of tears still there. He had been crying for a while now. Giyuu’s head was downcast as he looked to the ground instead of Sanemi. Giyuu was shorter and slimmer than him, but Sanemi had never seen him look as small as he did now.
Sanemi took a cautious step and Giyuu let him. He let him get inside the apartment and close the door behind him, still not saying anything.
“Giyuu,” Sanemi said in a quiet voice. He felt like speaking in his usual tone would set him off somehow. But he chose a wrong tactic. It was precisely the manner in which he said his name, all worried and caring, that made Giyuu let out a sob.
Before he knew it, Sanemi was there in front of him. He enveloped Giyuu in a big hug, pushing him close to his chest and it didn’t take long for Giyuu to turn into a complete mess, sobbing and crying all over again.
“Please don’t leave,” Giyuu whispered through his tears and sobs, it was barely audible as he pressed his head into Sanemi’s shoulder but Sanemi was close enough to hear. Giyuu had wriggled his hands free off the blanket a while ago and hugged Sanemi back, his hands tightly gripping the back of Sanemi’s hoodie.
“I’m not going anywhere.”
He was warm and comfortable but his insides were twisting. Giyuu had forgotten what it felt lit to be held by someone, what it felt like to have somebody there, somebody who cared about him.
Just recently, Giyuu was so optimistic, thinking somebody could fill the void left in him after Sabito died. He had been his childhood friend, his best friend and he had always been enough for Giyuu but then he had suddenly passed away and Giyuu hadn’t been same ever since.
And then Ayumu came into picture. Giyuu hadn’t paid him much attention during his classes, just like he didn’t pay attention to anyone else, but that changed when Ayumu was always there, begging to be noticed and talked to and Giyuu couldn’t avoid him.
He was nice for a while and Giyuu thought he could have someone, maybe more than a friend even, but he now knew how stupid he was. Not for wanting a friend, for wanting love, but for thinking he could get something like that from Ayumu.
Sabito would have been so disappointed in him if he knew that Giyuu had let Ayumu treat him like dirt. He was so caught up with the fact that someone was talking to him that he had missed all the red flags and now, looking back… he was stupid. There were so many.
Deep down he wanted a connection and once he got that, everything else was in the wind. Giyuu should have known better. He was never that good with reading social cues, the only person he could ever read was Sabito, but how Ayumu could pretend for so long without him noticing… Giyuu had hit a new low.
The words Ayumu had spat in his face just a while ago returned to his mind like a whip, opening the wounds again, making his heart bleed.
“You thought somebody would actually want to talk to you? You?”
No. Nobody wanted to have anything to do with him. Giyuu was foolish to think otherwise. Even if for a while.
Sanemi squeezed his shoulders, his grip not faltering even for a second. Giyuu let out another sob. Trusting Ayumu had been a mistake. Who was to say it would be any different now? But Sanemi didn’t have any hidden intentions, he was there just because he cared.
“I thought you were at least useful but you aren’t even that. You are nothing. Did you hear me? Nothing!”
Ayumu’s words hurt. They cut deep, exactly where they would do the most damage. Giyuu had always had doubts about himself. He knew his thinking was negative and pessimistic but he never had the ability to get himself through it. He could never do it alone.
It hadn’t been so bad when Sabito was around. He hadn’t struggled with his thoughts when there was someone to always assure him that everything was okay, that he was okay.
Then Sabito was no longer around and Giyuu and his loneliness and doubts spiraled. It got to such a point that now when something good happened in his life, Giyuu immediately pushed it far away, finding a reason why it wasn’t true.
He was doing that with Sanemi and he hated himself for it. Everything Sanemi did, especially things that showed he cared, Giyuu had a hard time accepting them for what they were – acts of kindness, not a coincidence, not anything else, but true shows of affection.
Sanemi held him close to himself. Giyuu’s tears spilled. Sanemi couldn’t be there for any other reason. He cared. He genuinely cared about Giyuu and Giyuu was starting to get it through his head.
“I can’t fucking stand you. I’m glad it’s out, at least, now I don’t have to look at you anymore.”
“No wonder you are always alone, who could be with you?”
“Always quiet, you can’t even stand up for yourself. Even now. It’s so pathetic.”
“No one likes, I can’t believe you haven’t noticed yet. How can one person be so fucking oblivious?”
“Are you going to cry now? Oh my lord, I can’t. Just fuck off already. You’re so revolting, makes me wanna gag.”
It hurt so much. Giyuu wouldn’t be able to get those words out of his mind so easily. Not alone, but the warmth he felt even through his tears and sobs and the darkness in his mind, told him that he wasn’t alone. He had Sanemi with him.
“Don’t think this is over, Tomioka. I’m not getting expelled because of you and you better hope I don’t. For your own sake.”
Giyuu recalled the threat. It was the last thing Ayumu told him before walking off. Giyuu didn’t even really know what was going on. Ayumu yelled at him, telling him, but he was so angry and busy with insulting Giyuu that he wasn’t clear enough about what the cause of all this was.
But right now, Giyuu was too tired to deal with it. It was something that could wait. Right now, in his apartment, covered in the blanket, warm in Sanemi’s arms. He wanted nothing more than to stop thinking about Ayumu.
Sanemi was there for him, holding him, but he didn’t know what to say to make it hurt less, to make Giyuu feel better. And so he said nothing, keeping him close and hoping it would be enough, and maybe it was for a while, but then Giyuu was sobbing again, his tears not ceasing and Sanemi felt like he had to say something.
“I’m here.” He didn’t know what else to say. He wasn’t good at this. He didn’t know how to show he cared through his words. He showed he cared by doing things, but Giyuu needed more. “I’m here,” Sanemi repeated, rubbing his back in small circles.
He repeated those words over and over again until Giyuu’s sobs finally quieted down. Sanemi noticed that Giyuu’s breath was labored, not sounding exactly right. For a second he was panicked but a text message flew through his mind. Tomioka, well, Giyuu, mentioned that he was sick. And now that Sanemi knew they were one and the same, he knew where the problem was. Giyuu still had a cold.
It made sense, why Sanemi hadn’t seen him around campus the last few days. If he was sick, then he was bound to stay home, not attending his lectures and classes. Sanemi should have known. He felt a bit guilty for not realizing it. After all, Giyuu probably had to go in his feverish state to get himself some medicine. If only Sanemi knew, he would be there for him. He would even skip a lecture if it meant helping Giyuu.
Giyuu was calm now, well, the calmest Sanemi had seen him since he had arrived at his door. Another thing he was, was hot, he was burning up. Sanemi could feel the heat radiating off him even through the layers he wore. Giyuu’s legs gave out, his energy leaving him and Sanemi caught him immediately. He didn’t have to do much, Giyuu had already been in his arms.
Sanemi bent down a bit to scoop him up, breaking their hug a bit but still supporting his weight with easy.
“Wait, I’m-” Giyuu’s voice was hoarse as he spoke. Raw from the crying and the sickness.
“Light as a feather is what you are. And sick. So stop talking.” Sanemi quickly got out of his shoes and started walking to Giyuu’s living room.
“Nope, man, stop talking. You’re only hurting your own damn throat.” He shook his head but there was a hint of affection in his annoyed tone. He wasn’t really annoyed to begin with. Giyuu’s ability to rile him up like no one else, maybe only Genya, was still there, but it wasn’t quite the same. “I could literally bench press you,” Sanemi muttered under his breath.
Although his words were nothing but a bit of venting, Giyuu had heard them even in his increasingly more delirious state. It brought the tiniest smile out of him and Sanemi almost tripped on the perfectly even floor when he saw it.
Sanemi carried him all the way to the blanket nest Giyuu had set up on his couch. After he placed him down, he helped him cover himself in the blankets. As he was doing so, Sanemi’s hand brushed against Giyuu’s cheek. The sound that Giyuu made… Sanemi was instantly red, his whole neck, ears, everything. Giyuu should not be allowed to make such noises in front of him.
Giyuu pushed his hands out of their blanket prison and caught Sanemi’s one. Giyuu immediately placed his palm to his cheek. “So cold.”
Sanemi was still blushing, but he put his other hand to Giyuu’s face, letting him enjoy the cold feeling on his burning skin. “It’s not cold, you’re just too hot.” Even if Sanemi’s hands could have been colder from the time he had run there from the campus, he doubted it. He had been hugging Giyuu for long enough for the coldness to leave every part of his body.
“Can you…” Giyuu didn’t finish, hesitating.
“What? Speak your mind, Giyuu.”
He looked Sanemi in the eyes, there was still that hint of hesitation. He was unsure and Sanemi was about to call him out on it, but then he spoke up, his voice barely above a whisper. “Can you put your hand to my neck?”
Sanemi wasn’t sure who was blushing more, he or Giyuu. He didn’t grace him with an answer, instead he moved the hand, that Giyuu wasn’t holding, from his cheek to the back of his neck.
Giyuu moaned again and Sanemi, despite himself, asked. “Does it feel good?”
He got a nod from Giyuu. “It’s so cold.” Giyuu closed his eyes, relishing the feeling and Sanemi was caught in the sight of him, unable to pull his eyes away.
But the fact that it felt so pleasant meat that Giyuu’s fever was dangerously high because Sanemi knew that his hands weren’t that cold. As captivating as it was looking at Giyuu’s face, Sanemi had to swallow whatever he was feeling right now and be the bigger person.
He pulled his hands away from Giyuu, putting the blanket over him and patting it gently. He cleared his awfully dry throat. “You need medicine.” Sanemi stood up.
Giyuu nodded in understanding and moved to stand up as well, but Sanemi’s hands were immediately on his shoulders, pushing him back down into the blankets. “The fuck are you doing, don’t get up. Just tell me where they are and I’ll get them.”
“The kitchen,” Giyuu answered obediently and sagged into the comfort of his couch while Sanemi headed straight for the kitchen counter.
Having a younger brother, Sanemi was familiar with the most common medicine there was for colds and the usual sicknesses. The stuff Giyuu had bought for himself wasn’t really effective. Not against a fever like he had right now. It would have been just fine if Giyuu had been home for a few days, but that goddamn Ayumu had made him go out into the cold again and the crying and emotional stress only made his current state worse. Sanemi had to hold himself to keep his anger in. He didn’t want to damage anything in Giyuu’s apartment, but he felt like hitting something. Ayumu, ideally.
Sanemi returned to Giyuu, finding him asleep. There was something about Giyuu falling asleep with him there. It was the third time it had happened. Sanemi was starting to think all of their meetings would end up in Giyuu falling asleep. It was just Sanemi’s luck always stumbling into Giyuu at the latest hours and when he was exhausted.
But Giyuu needed his medicine and he needed it fast. Sanemi didn’t want him to end up in a hospital if his fever was left untreated. Since the stuff he had at home was not strong enough, Sanemi would have to get him something else. He placed several items on the desk by the couch and silently left Giyuu’s apartment. He hoped he would be able to make it back before Giyuu woke up.
Giyuu’s eyes fluttered open. It was getting dark outside, making the visibility in his apartment kind of shitty, but still enough to go by. He pulled himself up a bit to take a look around. “Sanemi?” he called out into his apartment.
There was no reply. The quiet of his apartment was suddenly too much, making his head spin. Had he been wrong? Wrong to think that Sanemi was different? The tears threatened to spill again but Giyuu ignored the heart-wrenching feeling. Sanemi deserved better. Giyuu wouldn’t let himself go down that road just yet. There must have been a perfectly clear explanation for why Sanemi wasn’t there right now.
Giyuu took a calming breath, or at least he tried, finding his nose totally blocked. He reached out to the desk, knowing there would be some tissues, but that wasn’t the only thing he found there.
He made a quick work of blowing his nose before he took his time analyzing what he assumed to be Sanemi’s work. No one else could have done it. It had been just him and Sanemi in the apartment before Giyuu couldn’t stay up any longer and fell asleep.
Except the overwhelming amount of tissues, there was also a cup of tea, now cold, but Giyuu was sure it was scalding hot when Sanemi put it there. There were some pills for sore throat. But what he appreciated the most was his phone, hooked to a charger and full of new messages. Giyuu immediately picked it up.
that person: im getting you some stuff
that person: ill be back before u know it
that person: or not,, genya is being a lil shit
that person: ill come as soon as i can
that person: shit right
that person: this is sanemi
that person: I forgot to tell u
that person: uhh, surprise?
that person: stay in your fort
that person: i mean it
that person: unless u have to piss or something
that person: otherwise you are forbidden to move
that person: when I come back and u aint in there, there will be consequences
that person: btw I borrowed your spare key, found it in the bowl next to your door
that person: fuck, I realize that’s weird, but ill return it right away
that person: dw
that person: just didn’t want to let your place unlocked when u were sleeping
that person: also didn’t want to wake u up later
that person: just
that person: ill be back soon
Giyuu couldn’t help but laugh, only to end up coughing and almost choking. Thank God Sanemi knew to get him that tea. Sanemi… he wasn’t going anywhere, he was coming back. Giyuu felt warm all over, not from the fever but for something else entirely.
He didn’t bother answering, knowing that Sanemi was going to return sooner rather than later. He would much rather see him than text him. One thing Giyuu did, however, was changing the contact name to Sanemi’s real name. He now had his suspicions confirmed.
It seemed like he couldn’t escape Sanemi even if he wanted to. But the thing was, he didn’t want Sanemi not to be there. He wanted to spend all of his time with him. It wasn’t like what he had felt with Ayumu. No matter how much Giyuu thought he liked Ayumu, spending time with him was always kind of draining. Giyuu had found himself wanting Ayumu to just go home already when they were together, but with Sanemi, well, Giyuu never really wanted Sanemi to leave.
Giyuu then drifted off again, this time content. His day had been shitty, that much was true, but ever since Sanemi turned up, it just couldn’t be the worst. Nothing could be worse with Sanemi there. For all his annoyance and whatnot, Giyuu could tell there was no spite in it. He could rest easily, knowing that Sanemi would be at his door again soon.
“Hey, Giyuu, c’mon, dude, cooperate.”
Giyuu could barely muster any strength to open his eyes. His temperature must have risen again because he was finding it rather difficult to stay conscious. He heard Sanemi, he knew it was him, but his voice sounded like it was coming from far away, kind of muffled. Giyuu had no idea what Sanemi was saying.
“You’re really not making this easier, just open your mouth. I swear to God, this is worse than Genya.”
He felt fingers on his face, a hand opening his mouth and a pill being popped inside onto his tongue. Then there was something cold against his lips and Giyuu realized it was a glass of water. “Slowly, don’t go choking on me.”
Giyuu finally managed to open his eyes, only to come into contact with Sanemi who was so, so close. He had already been close to Sanemi’s face on many occasions, as surprising as that was, but not even those times were like this one. The scars were more prominent than ever but Giyuu found himself fascinated, not repulsed one bit.
Sanemi rolled his eyes. “You can stare fucking later. You need your medicine, dumbass.”
At last, Giyuu did as he was told to and gulped down half of the glass, swallowing the pill. There was a weird aftertaste in his mouth, he had let the pill rest on his tongue for too long. But the water felt heavenly on his parched, sore throat.
Not even the cold water could keep him up, however, and Giyuu was soon asleep again. He had no idea for how long he was out of it, but a smell of something pleasant woke him up this time.
Giyuu propped himself up, feeling much better already. Whatever medicine Sanemi got him must have worked its magic. This time round, he didn’t need to call for Sanemi, he instantly knew he was there with him. The light emanating from the kitchen was obvious, seeing as the living room and the kitchen were conjoined, basically just one bigger room.
Giyuu only had to turn his head slightly to the right to see Sanemi. He was still unaware that Giyuu was already awake and for a minute, Giyuu wanted it to remain that way. With his mind finally a bit clearer, Giyuu stared at Sanemi.
He was bent over a pot on the stove. Apart from the steam coming from it, Giyuu couldn’t see anything else about it. His sense of smell was pretty much useless now that he was sick so even if he could smell something, he couldn’t identify it.
Sanemi seemed like he knew what he was doing, his posture was relaxed and movements precise as he stirred and added some spices. Giyuu wondered how he learned how to cook. Another thing he noticed was that Sanemi wasn’t wearing the same thing. He wasn’t in his right mind before, but he remembered some kind of hoodie. That was not a hoodie Sanemi was wearing. Most definitely not. Giyuu would recognize his favorite sweater anywhere.
He missed that sweater and wanted it back, but seeing it on Sanemi made him feel certain things. He hadn’t seen him in it before, which he regretted now. Sanemi didn’t look too bad in it. He didn’t look bad at all and suddenly, Giyuu didn’t really care if he wasn’t getting the sweater back.
“Okay, sleeping beauty, stop staring. I can feel it and it’s starting to creep me out,” Sanemi called out from the kitchen, not turning around, his eyes steady on the pot.
Giyuu didn’t avert his eyes. He simply didn’t want to. He was enjoying the sight of Sanemi in his sweater and in his kitchen under the soft orange glow of his kitchen light way too much to look away.
A smile spread on his face. Giyuu wasn’t sure what kind of greeting he expected. Whether a simple ‘good morning’ would suffice. It was what a person would usually say, but Sanemi wasn’t any person and Giyuu preferred this more anyways. It was real. Sanemi was unapologetically real and he was there for Giyuu.
“What are you cooking?” Giyuu croaked out, his voice sounded terrible. It was bad enough since he was sick, but crying and sleeping for so long only made it worse. Bless Sanemi for leaving that medicine for his throat on the table.
“Just a soup.” Sanemi still didn’t turn around, his focus not wavering. “I figured you haven’t eaten anything today, your stomach would get upset if you had something heavy right now. And it’s good for you when you’re sick.”
Giyuu untangled himself from all the blankets, leaving just one around him. He made his way to Sanemi. It was clear to him now that Sanemi was close to finishing the soup, otherwise he wouldn’t need to pay such a close attention to it.
Sanemi sent him a glare and shook his head but other than that he ignored Giyuu for the time being, and Giyuu was content with just watching him as he leaned on the counter.
“Did you check your phone?” Sanemi asked as he turned off the stove and put the spoon away.
Now that Sanemi didn’t have to keep his eyes on the pot, he turned to Giyuu, a disapproving look on his face. Giyuu didn’t feel scared or insecure because of it. He knew Sanemi wouldn’t intentionally hurt him with his words, not like Ayumu. He was only confused, but that alone wasn’t negative.
“And didn’t I say there would be consequences if you got out of the blankets?” Sanemi inched closer to him.
“I am in a blanket.”
Then, Sanemi laughed. “You little shit.”
A smile was about to form on Giyuu’s face but instead his eyes widened as Sanemi bent down, seemingly charging at him, and Giyuu couldn’t do anything because within a second he was thrown over Sanemi’s shoulder.
“Sanemi!” Giyuu exclaimed out of the sheer shock, his cheeks going red as Sanemi steadied him, his hands resting on his behind. Giyuu couldn’t see it as he clutched the sweater on Sanemi’s back to keep himself from falling, not that Sanemi would let him fall, but he was sure there was a smirk on his face.
Giyuu let himself be carried back to the couch again. “You didn’t have to go that far.”
“I gave you a warning, you should have listened. And if I remember correctly, I also told you to stop talking.”
Without him even wanting to, Giyuu’s mind immediately went places. He imagined there was one way that Sanemi could make him stop talking… the red on his cheeks returned full force and Giyuu was glad he still had a bit of fever to blame it on.
“How do you know so much about treating a cold?” Giyuu asked even despite Sanemi’s threats. Maybe he wouldn’t mind if Sanemi ended up shutting him up.
“Do you even want to have your voice tomorrow?” Sanemi countered, his voice full of frustration. “Will you be quiet if I tell you?”
Giyuu mulled it over for a second, and then nodding. “Fine.”
“Genya and I grew up in a foster house. There were other kids as well, I was the oldest one so I always ended up taking care of them, until-” Sanemi’s face darkened for all of a sudden and Giyuu wanted to ask until what but he figured it was a sore topic. He had Sabito, maybe this was Sanemi’s Sabito. He would tell him when he was ready. “It’s stuff I can’t forget.”
“I s-” Giyuu opened his mouth to answer. Just two words, he only wanted Sanemi to know he understood but before the words were out, there was a hand at his mouth, shushing him. He was a bit disappointed that it was a hand on his mouth and not something else, but Giyuu supposed that at least this way Sanemi wouldn’t catch the cold from him.
“I swear… you’re always so quiet but now you keep talking. You’re just doing this to spite me, aren’t you?”
Sanemi’s hand was still over his mouth and Sanemi’s eyes widened as he felt, rather than saw, Giyuu’s grin. It wasn’t Giyuu’s intention to spite him, as Sanemi had said, but seeing him so frustrated because of him was kind of entertaining. Sanemi presented him with an opportunity and Giyuu was going to take it.
“I see how it is. Well, guess I’ll have to stay like this until you fall asleep again. You’re really not giving me much of a choice.” Although Sanemi’s voice was serious, Giyuu could pick up the hints of mischief. Sanemi was joking around just as much as Giyuu was with him.
Sanemi was in front of the couch, kneeling on the floor and facing Giyuu. The hand he didn’t hold over his mouth was stretched out besides Giyuu’s head as Sanemi supported his own weight on the backrest of the couch.
They were just sitting there like that, staring into each other’s eyes for god knows how long. Giyuu couldn’t say anything, but to be honest, he didn’t mind. He was just fine with this, but it soon occurred to him that kneeling on the hard wooden floor could get pretty painful even for a guy like Sanemi. Another thing Giyuu knew for sure, was that Sanemi was stubborn just enough not to say anything and carry out his ‘punishment’ till the end.
Giyuu tore his eyes from Sanemi, with quite a bit of difficulty, and nodded his head in the direction of kitchen. Sanemi put effort into cooking for him and Giyuu was dying to know how good it actually was.
Sanemi squinted his eyes at him. “What? Why are you doing that? Just say what you want.”
Oh, God. Giyuu rolled his eyes.
“Crap, right.” Sanemi shot up, his hand leaving Giyuu’s face. Sanemi’s antics made him full out laugh, making Sanemi turned around and look at him. His face didn’t change, but Giyuu saw the tips of his ears redden. “Stay there,” he muttered before shuffling into the kitchen, his eyes not really meeting Giyuu’s, whose laugh didn’t drop in the intensity.
Giyuu felt so much better, mentally, that was, even the fever was dropping so he guessed he could say physically as well, even though his energy wasn’t fully back yet. His day had started okay, then turned the worst way possible but right now, Giyuu was happy. It felt like whatever Ayumu had told him had been ages ago.
Giyuu had ended up loving the soup. Sanemi had told him that he cooked often because Genya couldn’t do it to save his life and so someone had to. And maybe it was the years of cooking for himself and his brother or an innate talent, but Sanemi was one hell of a cook. The soup he made was delicious, and it was just a plain soup, Giyuu couldn’t imagine what a full course meal from Sanemi would taste like. Probably heavenly.
But his joy didn’t last long because soon enough it was late and Sanemi had to go home. Giyuu had to let him go. Sanemi had to check up on his brother, insisting that even for his age, Genya was a literal baby. Giyuu didn’t say anything, though he was certain Sanemi was just worried and over-exaggerating. There was also the matter of Sanemi having lectures the following day and Giyuu would feel guilty if Sanemi skipped school because of him.
Even if Sanemi left as it neared midnight, they continued texting for about an hour before Giyuu drifted off, still not quite at his healthiest. When he woke up around noon, Giyuu checked his phone before doing anything else.
Sanemi: morning sleeping beauty
Giyuu’s day was starting pretty damn great. He was feeling much better today. He would have cleaned up his apartment of the scattered tissues and tea mugs but Sanemi had already done that, and so Giyuu headed for the kitchen and reheated some of the soup that was still left form the previous night. It tasted just as good.
Sanemi: and so he wakes
Sanemi: how u feeling
Sanemi: very elaborate, thank u
Sanemi: did u eat the soup? u gotta eat something
Giyuu: I’m eating it right now
Sanemi: cool cool cool
Giyuu: don’t u have lectures?
Sanemi: lunch break
Giyuu: can u stop by later?
Sanemi: im already a step ahead of ya
Sanemi: im gonna bring dvds
Sanemi: and snacks
Sanemi: I made genya some food, he should be fine
Sanemi: if u don’t mind me there
Giyuu: no, I wanted to ask you to come
Sanemi: my break is almost over
Sanemi: I gotta go
Giyuu: get horror movies
Sanemi didn’t reply right away and so Giyuu assumed he put his phone away to focus on the lecture. People who didn’t really know Sanemi judged him on his looks and a bit abrasive behavior but there was so much more to Sanemi than that. Giyuu was a bit ashamed that he had found Sanemi intimidating at first, but based on the time and situation, he thought it was acceptable.
Just because he thought Sanemi looked intimidating, he didn’t think of him as a dumb jock or something. Sanemi had proved to him many times, probably unintentionally, that when he cared about someone, he did a lot of things for them, even if those things were just small, thoughtful ones.
Giyuu had also learned about him that Sanemi took his school seriously. He never used his phone during lectures and he didn’t skip classes unless there was a good enough reason to do so. He wanted to have a stable future for himself but also to support his younger brother. It was admirable and Giyuu wished more people knew that about Sanemi.
Since Giyuu and Sanemi attended the same college, Giyuu could have guessed when Sanemi’s lecture ended. They were in different courses but the school system was the same, along with the break times.
Just as two hours passed, Giyuu’s phone beeped right on the clock.
Sanemi: you are into horrors????
Sanemi: why horrors?
Giyuu: they’re funny
Sanemi: they’re literally not
Sanemi: at all
Giyuu: will you be scared? we can get a comedy if you want
Sanemi: as if
Sanemi: of course not
Sanemi: im scared u might be scared
Giyuu: I won’t
Sanemi: are u sure?
Sanemi: i hope u know what you’re asking for
Giyuu: I’m sure. Sounds like you are the one not wanting to watch a horror movie
Sanemi: i have nothing against horrors
Sanemi: i’m gonna bring so many you won’t be able to pick one
Sanemi: we’re gonna watch so many horrors
Sanemi: all the horrors
Giyuu: can’t wait
It was another two hours later that Sanemi replied.
Sanemi: me too
When it was finally time for Sanemi to come, Giyuu had everything ready. His blanket fortress had been remade so that now there was an actual couch visible underneath it and he made sure there were no stray tissues lying around. Sanemi had already seen his apartment at its worst but that didn’t mean that Giyuu couldn’t make a little effort.
The only thing that he really cared about, however, was looking somewhat presentable even if his nose was still red and his eyes a tiny bit watery. After a long shower he finally felt like a human again. He let his hair down, letting it dry naturally as he waited.
Soon enough, his doorbell rang. Sanemi was just on time. It was a Friday evening and none of them had any responsibilities to take care of or any lectures to think about. Not when the next day was already a part of a weekend.
“You were not kidding,” Giyuu said instead of a greeting when he opened the door for Sanemi who was holding a bag full of snacks. Sweet, sour, salty, he had it all.
“Hello to you too.” Sanemi made his way around him and headed for the living room like he owned the place. To be honest, Giyuu didn’t mind skipping the pleasantries, he actually preferred it this way. Sanemi was acting like he would at his own house, comfortable and Giyuu was glad. He was comfortable as well even with Sanemi there. It was as if Sanemi had always been there. It was as if he belonged.
Giyuu bent down to put Sanemi’s shoes away. Sanemi had an odd habit of leaving his shoes exactly where he took them off. It often times ended up being the middle of the small hall, a perfect position for somebody to trip over them. Meanwhile, Sanemi wasted no time and went to Giyuu’s kitchen to retrieve some bowls for the snacks he had brought. He already knew where everything was, having checked all cabinets before he had cooked the soup.
He was already opening the various packs when Giyuu shuffled over. Sanemi gave him a long, pondering look. “I pegged you for a guy that likes sour shit.”
“I do,” Giyuu said as he plopped down on the couch next to Sanemi, their thighs touching. The couch was big enough for four people to sit on it comfortably without touching even once.
After what Giyuu assumed was the final package of sweets, came the dvds Sanemi had borrowed at the local store. Giyuu eagerly looked at the selection displayed on the table. He didn’t find it surprising that he had seen each and every one of them already. Considering that he was almost always home and had to fill his days somehow, it was not surprising at all.
“I’ll admit I picked them at random.” Sanemi rubbed the back of his neck, unsure. Giyuu found the gesture incredibly adorable. “I’m not really an expert in horrors. And besides, you wanted these, it’s not my fault if all of them are shit.” His voice raised at the end, his agitation obvious, but Giyuu could tell his annoyance was there mostly to hide his insecurity.
“They’re fine,” Giyuu assured him. “How about this one?”
Sanemi squinted at the cover. There was some kid with a checkered haori and burgundy hair, wielding a sword in a snow filled wilderness. He couldn’t tell what it was about, maybe only that it was set in sometime long in the past. “What is it about?”
Without needing to turn it over to get to the summary, Giyuu started his own explanation. “People fighting against demons, it gets bloody and sad, but it’s the least scary one out of these.”
“This one isn’t that scary.”
Sanemi laughed. “Oh, no, no, no. We’re watching the scariest one. Which is it? Tell me now.”
Shrugging, Giyuu put the dvd back on the table and picked another one. For someone who hadn’t seen it yet it would be pretty damn scary. “This one.”
“That’s more like it. Bring it.”
Giyuu only shook his head, his eyes sparkling with amusement and affection. He had a hunch that Sanemi would end up covering in fear within ten minutes, but if Sanemi was so stubborn that he wouldn’t let it slide, then so be it. Giyuu was happily going to be there to provide comfort. He set up the dvd player and walked to the light switch.
“What are you doing?” Sanemi asked instantly, his eyes jumping from the switch to Giyuu and back.
“Turning off the lights.”
Sanemi straightened on the couch. “Is that really necessary?”
“Yes.” There was a moment of silence and Giyuu felt almost guilty for enjoying it too much. He considered leaving the lights as they were, but then he had remembered how petty Sanemi had been when Giyuu had wanted to exit the bus back then when they had met. “It has to be dark when you watch horror movies.”
“Fine,” Sanemi said grumpily. He was still going with his macho look. In a way, it was admirable. Giyuu left one lamp in the corner turned on.
Giyuu sat back down, once again not minding things like personal space and Sanemi surely didn’t complain. He was a really touchy person, Giyuu had quickly learned. And Giyuu was awfully touch-starved. They were perfect for each other.
Admittedly, Sanemi was holding himself pretty good, but Giyuu felt him inch closer after the opening credits were done and the screen was nothing but darkness, the room around them in still silence. Giyuu may have accidentally moved his elbow a tiny bit. It was safe to say Giyuu had never seen a grown man jump in his seat like Sanemi did.
But Sanemi had brushed it off, keeping up his cool and collected image, only Giyuu knew better. He had a suspicion that Sanemi was scared of horror movies ever since he had texted him to get some. So far, Sanemi did nothing to disprove his little theory.
The movie hit full force. It was full of jump scares and Giyuu felt Sanemi flinch next to him every single time. Giyuu had seen this movie already, he could have given him a warning if he wanted to. But after every particularly frightening scene or a jump scare, Sanemi subconsciously moved closer to him and Giyuu found himself rather enjoying the warmth. He wasn’t ready to give up on this opportunity. Sanemi would just have to survive this one.
“What? The fuck is this? Not him,” Sanemi yelled, bolting in his seat and almost knocking a bowl of sour candies out of Giyuu’s hand.
“It was expected.” Giyuu put the bowl onto the table in front of them, just to be safe in the future. Many more characters were going to kick the bucket.
Sanemi turned to him, momentarily forgetting about the movie. “No, bitch, it wasn’t. Are you telling me I should have expected that?” He pointed at the screen as if it would show what he meant. “That?” he repeated, his voice raising in frustration.
The screen flashed, lighting up the room in white and blue as the scenes abruptly changed, drawing Sanemi’s attention. He huffed but turned his head back to the movie and leaned on the couch. Giyuu immediately missed their closeness. He rested his back on the couch as well.
Sanemi kept on muttering things, but Giyuu couldn’t make out more than a swear here and there. He was absolutely certain Sanemi was commenting the movie and slandering the plotline. He was always so shocked by the movie’s progress.
Another character was about to meet their end, Giyuu remembered that much. By the way Sanemi inched closer to the television in anticipation as the person got into increasingly more dangerous situation, Giyuu could tell he liked that character. When they got into a particularly bad scene, at least for that character, Sanemi leaned forward, his eyes wide and glued to the screen. His hand shot up, gripping Giyuu’s thigh as he watched. In that instant, the movie lost all of Giyuu’s attention.
“Giyuu…” He squeezed his leg. “Don’t tell me…”
Giyuu remained quiet. It would be a matter of seconds before Sanemi got his answer, and Giyuu was sure he wanted to ask about the character’s faith.
“No, God, no. They’re killing all the good ones, what the fuck, man.” Sanemi threw himself back dramatically. His hand leaving Giyuu’s thigh as he crossed his arms in front of himself. “This shit is not fair. Why not kill Kyle? Look at him, he is doing nothing. He is the fucking reason they all got attacked in the first place. He should be the massacred one. You know what, fuck Kyle.”
“Yeah, fuck him.” For once, Giyuu found himself agreeing. The way most of the characters acted was highly illogical. No one in their right mind, out in the real world, would do the things they did. This was why Giyuu found horror movies entertaining rather than scary. He didn’t believe in any of it and the characters were always acting like fools.
It would only get worse, for Sanemi. They were somewhere in the middle of the movie, the first act already over, now that everything was set, the plot and characters properly introduced and some of them already killed, it would get so much worse. This was where the real horror began. Giyuu felt a tiny bit sorry for Sanemi, but then again, he had suggested they got a comedy. Sanemi was adamant so this was what his actions yielded – a night filled with horrors. Although Giyuu felt that being with Sanemi, the night wouldn’t be so scary after all.
The movie got increasingly scarier and Sanemi began reacting accordingly. The first few minutes he only averted his gaze, slowly moving closer and closer to Giyuu, they hadn’t been that far from each other to begin with. And few minutes after that, his strong grip was back on Giyuu, this time on his arm.
“Why did I agree to watch this?” Sanemi mumbled again but this time round Giyuu could make it out.
“Shut up,” Sanemi said but it came out a little weakly as he squeezed Giyuu’s arm with both his hands, squinting his eyes at the screen, hoping that it would make him see less of the gory stuff currently happening in the scene.
Giyuu was sure that Sanemi hadn’t yet realized one thing, not that Giyuu was complaining. With every new scene that was scary, Sanemi inched closer but with his hands clutching Giyuu’s arm in a steel-tight grip, Sanemi began pulling him closer and Giyuu let him.
Half an hour later, Giyuu was pretty much sitting on Sanemi’s lap as Sanemi pulled him to a point where his entire body was hiding behind Giyuu’s, Sanemi ending up essentially being sandwiched between Giyuu and the couch. With some bad scenes, Sanemi would bend his back and put his head behind Giyuu’s shoulder, hiding the screen from his sight. It wouldn’t work, under normal circumstances, but close to the end of the movie, Giyuu was already fully on that lap. Sanemi’s legs propelled him up a bit, making him the taller one in this position.
The last few minutes would be the worst and by the time the movie ended, Sanemi was hugging him from the back, his head resting on Giyuu’s shoulder blades.
“I can’t watch anymore. Oh God, I’m sorry I lied, I hate horrors, can we not watch any more horrors?”
Giyuu couldn’t help but laugh. “Okay. It’s only the credits now, you can let go.” It pained him to say it, but there was no more reason for Sanemi to hold onto him like he was his only reason to live.
“You are ridiculously comfortable,” Sanemi muttered into the back of his shirt, making Giyuu shiver despite Sanemi’s hot breath. There was a moment of silence as both of them stayed that way, unmoving and simply enjoying each other’s warm embrace. “I’m hungry.”
Giyuu tried turning his head back to see Sanemi. He supposed it was getting late, they had already passed the dinner time and Giyuu didn’t really have anything at his house that could be considered edible, except the unfinished snacks Sanemi had brought over.
“Let’s order pizza.”
“From our place?” Giyuu didn’t notice his slip up, thinking of the restaurant where Sanemi had taken him the last time. Sanemi didn’t comment on it either, instead nodding in agreement.
The pizza wouldn’t order itself and so Giyuu had to move from Sanemi. It took quite a bit effort. None of them was willing to part just yet. It was a slow process.
Having his lap free, Sanemi stood up to locate his phone. He had the number of the place and also knew what to order. It made sense it would be up to him. Giyuu, however, opened his mouth, about to retort something when Sanemi put his hand up, stopping him.
“No broccoli this time, I know.”
Giyuu closed his mouth. Sanemi had guessed exactly what he was about to say. After all, the last time, Sanemi had insisted he spoke his mind and so he did. Turned out he didn’t need to, Sanemi already knew.
Sanemi finished the order and repeated to Giyuu what the person on the line had told him, that the food would be there in about fifteen minutes. Giyuu nodded. They waited a bit before Giyuu went to retrieve his wallet.
“Hey, man, what are you doing? I can-”
“You said it’s on me next time. This is next time.”
Sanemi shook his head. “This isn’t a date, you don’t have to pay for me.” The tips of his ears were red. Giyuu couldn’t know what exactly he was thinking, but Sanemi was most definitely recalling his brother’s words about their not a date but totally a date.
“So last time…” Giyuu wondered if that one night was supposed to be a date. It could have been. Giyuu was rather oblivious to these things.
Sanemi stared at him, silent, before he cleared his throat and walked closer to Giyuu. “Well, no, but I wouldn’t mind if it was.”
“Then I’m paying,” Giyuu said with a resolution clear in his voice. They had already cuddled, more or less. At this point they couldn’t deny what was between them. Giyuu didn’t usually cuddle with his friends, and he was sure that neither did Sanemi.
“Fine, but the next next time is on me.”
“You bought the snacks.”
Sanemi rolled his eyes. Giyuu seriously wouldn’t let him have it for even a single minute. “Then you can buy the snacks next movie night, but we’re watching comedies.”
“It’s a date.”
They were almost chest to chest now. “It’s a date,” Sanemi repeated quietly, his voice coming a bit hoarse as he stared into Giyuu’s eyes.
The doorbell rang and they jumped from each other, both startled by the sudden sound. Giyuu took the pizza and paid for it. Sanemi had already moved to the kitchen and was taking plates from the top cabinet on the right when Giyuu placed the pizza on his dining table.
They were eating contently when a rattling sound came from somewhere in the apartment. Sanemi immediately paled, looking around frantically. It looked rather comical with the pizza still in his mouth. “What was that?”
Giyuu shook his head, hiding his smile. Sanemi was adorable when he was scared. Giyuu should have known the movie would have some after effects, like an overly jumpy Sanemi. He decided to take a pity on him for once. “It’s the apartment next door. My neighbor has an old heating system, the pipes rattle for a few minutes when she turns the heating on.”
“And you live here? And you watch horrors here?”
Giyuu only shrugged. To him it was nothing since he knew what the cause of the sound was. Though to be fair to Sanemi, when he had heard it for the first time… yeah, that was pretty scary especially since he was there on his own, without anyone to tell him what the sound was.
It didn’t end there, Sanemi’s jumpiness. When Sanemi had offered to do the dishes, Giyuu let him, but only if he could dry the plates in return. They started their work, and before he knew it, Giyuu had put away the first plate and moved back to Sanemi’s side. Unfortunately, Sanemi hadn’t heard nor seen him and almost broke a plate as he was startled.
“Oh my fuck, how am I supposed to walk back in this dark when even a tiny guy like you makes me jump?” Sanemi washed the dishes with an increasing force, letting out his frustration with himself one way or the other.
“You don’t have to,” Giyuu threw in casually, his eyes not moving from the plate he was drying in his hands.
“What?” Sanemi halted the washing.
“You can sleep over. I don’t mind.”
Just when it was time for bed, Giyuu had realized his mistake. A mistake he had already made once and apparently, hadn’t learned from. He scratched his head.
“What is it?” Sanemi picked up on his weird behavior right away.
“I’m not sure I have anything you can wear. The last time was a bit of a stretch as well.”
Sanemi smirked, not finding that the least bit problematic. “I could always go shirtless and less… other things.”
The silence stretched on as Giyuu hesitated with his answer. It almost seemed like he was seriously considering it. “You will be cold.”
“This is for you, dumbass.” Without even realizing it, Sanemi’s way of talking was already rubbing off on him and Sanemi could only laugh.
Sanemi was walking to the campus, a big dumb smile plastered over his face as he recalled the night he had spent at Giyuu’s place. True to his word, Giyuu couldn’t find anything suitable for him so Sanemi ended up in nothing but Giyuu’s awfully tight underwear after he had taken a shower. Seeing that Giyuu couldn’t stop blushing and wouldn’t meet his face, Sanemi took pity on him and wrapped himself up in a blanket.
The couch was big enough for a person to sleep there so Giyuu prepared it for him and they went to sleep separately. Giyuu pretty much fled to his bedroom when Sanemi pulled the blanket off himself with a mischievous smirk. It made him think of that time Giyuu saw him naked after a shower, making him laugh harder again.
Sanemi’s good mood quickly faded when he took in his surroundings. A quiet, unfamiliar room with nothing but dark all around him. Every direction he turned, something reminded him of a person standing there and since he didn’t know the room enough to be able to discern what it actually was, within half an hour he had called for Giyuu, shouting his name.
Within a minute, Giyuu was there, looking quite panicked, his hair disheveled and all over the place. He had thought something had happened but it was just Sanemi unable to sleep because of Giyuu’s stupid horror movies. Though, in a way, he knew it was his own damn fault for not admitting to being scared in the first place. At this point, he was beyond caring and asked Giyuu to stay with him for a while.
They were both a bit awkward at first. Giyuu wasn’t sure if he should sit on the ground by the couch or on the end of it, but Sanemi quickly ended his inner struggle, rolling his eyes and pulling Giyuu to the couch, making him lie down next to him. Sanemi murmured something along the lines of ‘We already cuddled, it’s no different.’ and hugged him close. But it was a bit different because Sanemi was now shirtless, but Giyuu was still so sleepy that it didn’t bother him for long and he put his hands around Sanemi’s back as well. Sanemi had fallen asleep with no troubles afterwards.
Sanemi couldn’t wait for the morning when he was falling asleep but their morning came way too soon and it was nothing like he had imagined it to, and he did imagine it, though Sanemi would never admit that to anyone. He had imagined waking up with Giyuu in his arms, his face all smooth as he was still asleep, his hair tickling Sanemi and Sanemi would brush them away, finding it as smooth as he had always thought, maybe even braiding it absentmindedly… and then Giyuu would be awake too and they would make coffee, go out and buy some croissants, it would be nice.
But that never happened. Instead, they had woken up to Sanemi’s phone blasting, making Sanemi shot up on the couch and Giyuu almost falling down. It was Genya, calling him on repeat and Sanemi was considering not picking up but the phone calls didn’t cease so he had to. As it turned out, G Genya was attempting to make himself an omelet for breakfast but he forgot to turn on the kitchen hood, making the smoke alarm go off, waking up everyone in their building. Of course, Genya had no idea how to turn off the alarm so it was chaos. Sanemi had to get back to deal with it.
He had texted Giyuu later, wanting to spend more time together already but Giyuu had told him that he needed to finish his assignment and also catch up with all the lectures he had missed when he was out sick. Sanemi could tell that Giyuu was stressing because he didn’t know whom to ask for the notes and so Sanemi called Yutani and made him send Giyuu all that was covered. At first Yutani wasn’t really willing, since Giyuu wasn’t really anyone to him but once Sanemi threatened him he would never go to gym with him again if he didn’t, Yutani reluctantly helped Giyuu out.
Giyuu still had a lot of things to do and so Sanemi at least stopped by with a home-cooked dinner, knowing that Giyuu was bound to have nothing at home. It wasn’t anything much, Sanemi had to cook for Genya and himself but he made sure there was enough for one more person.
And so as he remembered all this, Sanemi couldn’t help but smile. He had it bad, he was already in too deep.
He wasn’t paying much attention as he walked and ended up colliding with someone else’s shoulder.
“Hey, watch where you’re going,” the stranger called out, but soon enough, Sanemi had learned it was no mere stranger. He wasn’t about to let anyone shout at him so he turned around to speak his mind when he halted. It was that fucking Ayumu again.
“Just the person I couldn’t wait to see,” Sanemi said with a loud laugh. He wasn’t amused in the slightest and Ayumu could tell, his face going ghostly pale. He backed away as Sanemi kept coming closer. “So I heard your pathetic ass threatened my boyfriend.”
“Is he your boyfriend now? No wonder he ran right to you. He wouldn’t be able to do shit, but you, well, I guess I kept you around for the same reason, so I can’t really be that surprised.” Ayumu was trying to stand his ground but his voice didn’t come as strong as before. Sanemi was ready for him this time.
“Like I care what you got to say,” Sanemi said, his eyes wide with anger, making him look positively feral. No one would dare approach him right now and no one had as Sanemi decked Ayumu right in the face.
His single punch was enough to send Ayumu to the ground. He would have one hell of a black eye. Sanemi bent over him, close enough to Ayumu scrunched up in pain face. “Stay the fuck away from him or I will make you. And don’t think that will be one punch like this. See these scars?” Sanemi made a show of showing off his face. “They’re nothing compared to the other dude. Remember that when every time you even think of Giyuu, you piece of shit.”
Sanemi kicked him in the ribs for a good measure before straightening his back and adjusting his jacket. What he had told Ayumu about his scars was a lie. He hadn’t gotten them in some bar fight but Ayumu didn’t have to know that. Sanemi left him there, satisfied with his work. His knuckles were a bit red from the force of his punch but it was very much worth it and damn did it feel good to see Ayumu on the ground. That prick finally got a taste of his own medicine. Sanemi only wished he could do more, but he knew that Giyuu wouldn’t approve of that.
Once he was in the campus area, Sanemi found the building where Giyuu had his lecture. He stayed a bit farther from the entrance, not wanting to get lost in the crowd once all the students exited at the same time.
He had to wait for about five minutes before students started pouring out in groups. And then Giyuu finally got out as well, unlike them, he was walking alone, his head cast downward. His expression was blank but his body language was easy enough to read, at least to Sanemi. He didn’t know when he had started noticing everything about Giyuu but he knew.
Giyuu was sad. No one had talked to him. Ayumu had indeed gotten expelled and Giyuu had to talk to the professor about the issue, but they no one blamed him, other than Ayumu, that was. But even if Ayumu was still in the same course, he wouldn’t want to have anything to do with him, not after all the hurt he had been through because of him and his words. Giyuu never wanted to see Ayumu again.
Nothing had changed however. Ayumu must have been right about something, no one really liked Giyuu. Not even Yutani spoke to him for more than was necessary to pass the notes. Giyuu told himself he shouldn’t have minded nor cared about things like that, but that was harder done than said. He wasn’t feeling his best when he exited the lecture hall.
“You’re just gonna walk past me?”
Sanemi grinned as Giyuu stopped dead in his tracks and looked up at him. He really hadn’t seen him there, Sanemi assumed as he walked from the grass onto the pavement and next to Giyuu.
“Sanemi,” Giyuu said, sounding a bit out of breath. His face betrayed nothing but Sanemi could see his eyes lighten up as they landed on him.
“Did you have lunch yet?” Giyuu was still staring at him, not saying anything. “I’ll take that as a no. Okay, well, then, it’s settled, we’re getting lunch.”
Without saying anything, Giyuu reached out for Sanemi’s hand, but Sanemi swatted it away, rolling his eyes as Giyuu grew more and more confused.
“C’mere,” Sanemi muttered and put his hand over Giyuu’s shoulders, squeezing a bit. He felt like Giyuu needed a bit more comfort at the moment than holding hands. Sanemi would have hugged him and kept on hugging him but he was also quite hungry and knew that once they were in each other’s embrace, they wouldn’t be able to part so easily.
Giyuu put a hand around Sanemi’s waist. “Can we get something that is not pizza?”
“What do you have against pizza?” Sanemi mocked being offended.
“I don’t have anything against pizza, but I prefer the kinds of meals you make.”
“I see. You just want me to cook for you, you should have just said so, I would have made something.”
“I didn’t know you were coming today.”
“Oh, yeah, I forgot about that.”
Together they found a restaurant that wasn’t a fast food nor a pizza place and got some actually nutritious meals, full of veggies and stuff. It was good but Giyuu still preferred Sanemi’s cooking. There was another shop nearby that Giyuu knew about and frequented.
Sanemi let Giyuu take his hand when they exited the restaurant. Giyuu was already in a much better mood. As Giyuu started to pull him in a direction that was not the campus and neither their apartments, Sanemi grew suspicious.
“I want to show you one shop around here,” Giyuu answered his unasked question, having picked up on Sanemi’s fleeting glances his way.
Sanemi only nodded and walked alongside him. He was already getting excited. Giyuu hadn’t really had anything he wanted to show him before. He didn’t know what to expect but he wasn’t nervous at all.
Soon enough, Sanemi spotted a shop situated near office buildings. Giyuu could only be taking him to that one place. There were no other shops around, unless it was hidden somewhere in the back alley, which Sanemi doubted.
“Is this what I think it is?”
“I don’t know what you think,” Giyuu said and it was true. Sanemi was always surprising him. Just like today when he had shown up after his lecture.
“It is what you think it is.”
Sanemi stopped, making Giyuu stop as well as his hand was pulled back and he collided with Sanemi’s chest. He looked up to Sanemi only to be met by a huge genuine smile.
“God, I love you so much,” Sanemi said and kissed him. It happened so fast Giyuu had barely any time to process and then it was over and Sanemi was looking at him, his ears bright red and a flash of panic in his eyes.
Giyuu freed his hands from Sanemi’s and placed them to Sanemi’s face, his fingers brushing gently against Sanemi’s scars. “That’s not how I thought this would go.” Hearing Giyuu’s unaffected voice, Sanemi calmed down. “If I knew all it would take was some ohagi-” Giyuu kept talking as if nothing had happened but his cheeks were dusted pink and his mind was screaming. It hadn’t happened under the circumstances he had expected but it felt just like he had imagined. His words, however, didn’t get far as Sanemi jumped in.
“Shut up and kiss me.”
Giyuu couldn’t stop the smile forming on his face. He happily obliged.
This fic has been quite an emotional ride for me and that's all because of all of you who supported it. I can't express how happy it made me to see all your comments, kudos or reactions on twitter. It really made me remember why I enjoy writing so much, I only regret not finishing it faster so you wouldn't have to wait, but I wasn't able to get it done before my uni started so thank you for being patient. Sanegiyuu nation really is the best. Thank you all for reading and enjoying and taking your time to comment, your messages always bring a smile to my face. Thank you. ♥
Ps. I'm not done with this ship yet even it this fic is at its end. Sanegiyuu is way too good for me not to write anything more for them, but it's most likely not going to have anything with this fic.