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Repeating Mistakes (and learning from them)

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Failure was never Teruki's strong suit.

That much was clear to anyone who'd held a conversation for more than a minute with him. It was a fact that he used to pride himself on, since he'd never lost. Still, things happen, and now Teru was a changed man!

That was a new thing that he liked to take a - very humble! - amount of pride in. Hanazawa Teruki had turned a complete 180! He helped others, trained espers, (almost) took down the second-strongest member of Claw, even had an on-call job as an exorcist! As a bonus, he now had a group of real friends, something the old Teru couldn't have ever considered.

There was an underlying issue, though. For all the effort that Teru had put into improving himself, failure was still not something he took well. The smallest of losses would give him a pounding migraine, anything even slightly major caused a fever, aches and chills.

It was humiliating.

"And, uh....that's why I'm here!" Teru finished, rubbing the back of his neck. They were sat in Shigeo's room, school bags tossed aside. It had taken almost two weeks for Teru to convince himself to bring this up with his best friend. Two very, very stressful weeks. "So, I was wondering if you could help me work on, um, my problem?"

"Of course, Hanazawa-kun." Shigeo's reply was almost immediate, and Teru felt two weeks of anxiety melt away, replaced by gratitude and relief. Kagayama-kun is amazing.

"Ah, thank you so much, Kageyama-kun. I really do appreciate it." Shigeo tilted his head, face neutral. Teru picked up the slight upward twitch of his lips, the tiny movement of his eyebrows.

"Well, it would be nice to play board games with you. It's no fun when you have to leave right away after we play Monopoly."

Teruki sputtered, waving his hands. "I-If I didn't know any better I'd call that sarcasm, Kageyama-kun! How uncalled for!"

"Well," Shigeo mused, looking conflicted. "It could be. Tome says I might be getting it from her."

"That's not such a bad thing!" Teru hurried to reassure him. "It's a lot like telling jokes! And works well when talking to women, of course."

That last bit wasn't entirely true, but Teru had dated a few girls who were into that kind of banter. Shigeo nodded, taking the suggestion as fact.

"I see. Maybe you could....help me learn how? To be sarcastic, I mean."

"Anything for you, Kageyama-kun!" It was a good excuse to spend more time with Shigeo - something Teru couldn't seem to get enough of these days. "But, to make it fair, how about I return the favor of you helping me, by me tutoring you?"

Shigeo nodded slowly, thinking over the proposal. Teru waited patiently, knowing that Shigeo needed the time to process. "That sounds nice."

"It's a deal, then!" Teru held out his hand, giving a lopsided grin to show that the handshake was just for show. It took a few extra moments for Shigeo to catch on, but he cautiously took Teru's hand. They shook.

"Well....what now?" Teru realized that he hadn't let go, and yanked his hand away. He hoped the red on his face wasn't too obvious.

"Um, now? I don't know....I didn't think I'd get this far, actually."

"Hm."

The silence hung between them. Teru knew that coming up with a gameplan was typically his task, except his mind had gone completely blank. Shigeo's hands were soft, but there were small calluses along the top of his palm. He figured it was from his work with the Body Improvement Club. The difference in texture was all he could think about, and along with the sudden urge to take Shigeo's hand again, it caught Teru wildly off-guard.

This is weird, he needs to say something, anything -

Shigeo spoke softly, breaking the tension.

"I have an idea."