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you've lived a life before me

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It was, perhaps, a little presumptive of Kenya to assume that Satoru would have come out of a fifteen year long coma with absolutely nothing to show for it- not to mention the trauma both immediately beforehand and not long after. It surfaced in weird ways, though. 

Satoru was never quick to anger- not to say that he wasn’t a guy with a pretty decent temper once you gave him a reason, but he never went around picking fights without a reason. He never even tended to snap at people, or use a harsh tone with them.  In fact, Kenya could only really think of one exception to this- Satoru seemed to have one thing that always upset him. No matter whose house it was, the moment that Satoru- and whoever happened to be with him at the time- entered, the front door was to be locked, in as many ways as said door allowed. He probably didn’t mean anything by it, honestly, but if he noticed a door was unlocked, he tended to make some kind of snappy comment about it before locking it himself. Almost methodically, he would check the doors- as if to reassure himself that they were, in fact, still locked, and that nothing could have gotten in.

Kenya has gotten into the habit, too- locking doors after him and checking them even without Satoru around. Nobody pushed Satoru, or questioned. They simply figured that, well, the guy had earned a right to some sort of safety. It wasn’t a bad habit, even if they could live without being told off for it.

 

-

 

Yet another thing was seatbelts. He was always hesitant to put them on- outright avoiding to, if he could- and Kenya could always see the split-second panic being stifled, even if the guy was pretty good at hiding such things. That one was easier to understand, of course- they all knew how Satoru had been found… what had held him, trapped in that car. Kenya hated to even think about it. So when he saw an ad on some new social website, he brought a small, plastic device with a blade hidden within. It was designed to destroy seatbelts, should need be- the advert had even used the example of driving into a river or lake accidentally.

Kenya left it, in it’s bag with instructions printed upon it, on his passenger seat when he went to pick up Satoru. He didn’t mention it, but noticed the few tears Satoru let slip either way. It was stored safely in his glove box, and another one was ordered for Satoru to carry with him. 

 

-

 

As a group, they tended to get food a lot, even if having a full group was rare. Considering they were all somewhat scattered around Japan, it took a lot of planning to arrange, after all, but they managed it every few months. The few chances they got were always lovely, what with being able to catch up, and Satoru somehow always having recommendations for food places that ended up being delicious.

On such a trip, he’d asked Satoru how on Earth he’d found the small sushi joint they’d ate from- considering that it had opened only a week ago, as seen from the promotion it was running. 

“Oh, I just saw a review online, I think,” Satoru shrugged, as he’d begun eating the fatty tuna sushi that he had raved about on the way there with Kenya.

 

Later that night, out of nothing but pure curiosity, he’d looked it up himself, and sure enough, there were only two reviews- containing no more than three words each, and definitely nothing regarding fatty tuna.

 

-

 

In the months following Nishizono Manabu’s arrest, it had been a pretty talked about case. Kenya had expected it, and had warned Satoru beforehand- something he had seemed to understand, too, given that he’d been a popular target beforehand anyway. Nishizono was a politician, after all, and just the mass amount of crimes he’d committed- and confessed to- were enough for attention, even without it being the exact same case of Satoru Fujinuma, the boy who had laid comatose for fifteen years.

Even with Satoru knowing exactly what he was going to see, Kenya had hidden as much of it from him as possible- he only kept newspapers with little to no true detail of the case. He knew Satoru had seen, anyway- he’d be surprised if Satoru had seen any less than Kenya had.

What surprised him, though, was that his own name had been brought up- he was framed as a heroic friend who had fought for Satoru for all the years that he couldn’t fight himself. That wasn’t true, at all- Satoru was the hero here. Kenya had just been trying to help in any way that he could.

When he’d told Satoru that, though, he’d just smiled at him, in that enigmatic way that he did sometimes, which Kenya swore meant that he was seeing something that Kenya wasn’t.

“Ah, Kenya,” he had tilted his head slightly, smile not leaving his face, “Don’t you know? You're my hero.”

He’d turned red, he was sure of it, and had absolutely no clue how to respond to that, so he’d just scoffed and rolled his eyes, but hadn’t argued.

They’d agreed to be superheroes together, after all, all those years ago.

 

The publicity did actually come with positives- Satoru’s name being not unheard of had helped with kicking off his first manga, and with gaining readers- and Kenya himself had received an attractive offer from a rather prestigious law firm. He’d felt bad about taking it, at first, but Satoru had pushed him to. 

The offer included a nice apartment, big enough for the two of them- and Kenya had invited Satoru to move in with him, since it would’ve been a shame to let the apartment go to waste, with him working as much as the job required him to. Satoru had graciously agreed, and a month later, they were living together.

“I know why you didn’t want to accept all this,” Satoru had told him, one evening, “But honestly… if something good can come of what happened, why shouldn’t we let it?”

Kenya hadn’t known what to say, then- it seemed he never did, around Satoru. He agreed, though- because Satoru was finally living his happy life, and to Kenya, that meant everything.

 

-

 

Satoru liked to check their fire alarms. Kenya never commented on it, but always made sure there was a supply of batteries for Satoru to change them if he deemed it necessary. Kenya made sure that he didn’t push- at least, never too hard. For these things, he thought it was okay to leave them alone rather than to question them. Satoru feeling safe was always the most important thing to him.

He orders some more fire extinguishers, and keeps one in each room of their apartment, since it's not like there's too many. 

 

-

 

Once a month, Satoru went out shopping, brought a bunch of supplies, and began to make small packs of food, before disappearing for the day. Kenya didn’t know where he went- he was often too busy to follow, and Satoru stayed remarkably tight-lipped on the topic.

Then, on one such day, Kenya actually didn’t have anything left to do for the day, and so, he’d decided that he was going to go with Satoru, if only to sate his own curiosity.

They walked, as Satoru had insisted, on what appeared to be a set route through their neighbourhood, and beyond. They’d ended up in an impoverished area of the city, and Satoru had then begun handing out the small bags they’d carried with them in boxes to what appeared to be homeless people.

He’d had to hide his shock.

They greeted Satoru, many of them seeming to be well-acquainted with him. Satoru had introduced Kenya, too, and he had found himself having many conversations, which he found insightful, and engaging. As it turns out, a lot of the people- people that he, himself, had overlooked every day- were incredibly bright people, who merely had fallen into bad luck, and bad situations. 

The bags contained some food- things that were easy to carry, but had a decent amount of nutrition- and some toiletries. The people who received them seemed genuinely incredibly grateful- and a few had even thanked them for just speaking to them, and treating them as human beings.

On their way home, hours later, Kenya had asked him what had encouraged Satoru to do such a thing.

“It’s hard, out here. People look at you with such suspicion, and it’s scary to be alone,” he’d said, “I wish I could help more. Sometimes, though, having someone believe in you, and help where they can… that’s enough.”

He’d looked so serious, and so far away, then. It sounded almost like he was talking from his own experience- perhaps he had heard some hard stories. Kenya squeezed his shoulder. 

 

A month later, Kenya set aside his work, and went out once more. Another month, and he began adding to the packs himself.

 

-

 

Tokyo was a very big city, and as such, tended to have a good amount of police presence. Kenya himself appreciated it- it was nice to know they were being protected. He’d noticed, though, that Satoru didn’t seem to think the same way.

Even back then, years ago, he’d seemed to shy away from police cars, almost as if he were hiding. Now, he did the same- subtly move his body, so that he was slightly turned away, but keeping his eyes narrowed, watching the car. It was almost like he was prepared to run.

It wasn’t noticeable, really, but Kenya had seen it- there was no way he wouldn’t, not with how much time he spent just looking at Satoru.  It was second nature, now, to move with Satoru- to get closer to him, and make himself bigger- to try and shield Satoru as much as he could. He can’t pinpoint when exactly he started doing that, but, well, he’d also noticed that Satoru never got as tense as he used to. That was always good.

Satoru didn’t really have a reason to fear the police- at least, not one Kenya could place- but he shrugged it off. Satoru probably just had some kind of issue with authority figures, is all.

 

-

 

Nightmares aren’t uncommon, for either of them.

Kenya dreams of Satoru, still asleep, sleeping forever and ever until one day the plug is pulled and they have no choice but to watch him slip, slip away even more than he already had. He dreams of Satoru, glaring and hurt, telling Kenya what he has always feared-

“It’s your fault,” the Satoru of his dreams tells him, again and again, “You left me alone.”

He dreams of Yashiro, too- he dreams of going to the man, crying, begging him for updates on Satoru’s condition in the month he’d stayed after Satoru was found. He had, back then, and it horrifies him even now. Even if he’s long accepted that it was Yashiro, sometimes he forgets what that truly means- that he’d caused the exact pain that he had soothed in Kenya.

The dreams are less frequent than before, but they’re dreams that have been here for more than a decade and a half- they’re familiar, in a way that leaves him exhausted, deep in his bones. The nights that they wake him, he slips out of bed, and he quietly shuffles out of his room and into Satoru’s. The sight of him asleep isn’t particularly comforting, but the fact that he’s in Kenya’s home, with no tubes or monitors on him is. Some nights, Kenya stands there for an hour, just watching him, to make sure that his chest is rising and falling properly, and to watch him as he shuffles in his sleep. 

Satoru has nightmares, too. Neither of them tell the other any details, but Kenya can always  guess what they’re about. He can see it in the way Satoru gulps up air, sometimes, when he first wakes. More than once, Satoru’s woken up, and seen Kenya standing there, ready, and he must know that Kenya has nightmares, too, because he just reaches out and lifts the blanket with his hand, creating a space for Kenya. When Kenya slips into the bed, he feels so much better than before, and sleep comes back to him easier. Because he’s next to Satoru, and he can feel his breath, and the heat from him. He can hear his breathing, in the quiet of the apartment. It calms his nerves, and he feels Satoru’s tension slowly leave him, too.

When they wake up in the morning, Kenya never finds it awkward. Sometimes, they wake up with their legs tangled together, and sometimes, they wake up with arms over each other, and more than once he’s woken with their faces so close that he could nearly touch Satoru’s nose. Yet, it’s never awkward. Kenya just wakes up, and feels comfortable, and happy. He feels warm, and he can’t help but smile whenever he wakes up before Satoru and gets to just… relax in the gentle moment.

When Satoru wakes up, it’s always with a smile and a croaky, “Hey,” before he gets out of bed, citing the urgent need to use the bathroom. It makes Kenya laugh, most mornings, even if he misses the warmth of Satoru next to him.

One night, as Kenya gets up from the living room to go to bed, Satoru follows, and disappears into his own room, as per usual. But then, just as Kenya is about to get into bed, the door opens and in walks Satoru, in his pyjamas, and Kenya knows the silent question. He gets into bed, throwing aside the blankets for Satoru to get in, and they fall asleep together.

From then on, they wake next to each other most mornings. 

 

-

 

Neither of them are particularly great at cooking- though they do enjoy trying. Satoru gets teased about it a lot, considering how great his mother’s food is; everyone had eaten at Ms. Fujinuma’s house, especially after… what happened. Kenya himself was passing, but he’d never truly learnt anything other than a few dishes himself, since he only really bothered to eat enough to stay healthy, and that didn’t require much.

Needless to say, they ate out quite a bit. It was just easier than cooking themselves, and much tastier, anyway. They earnt enough to afford such a habit, too.

Satoru had his favourite places, and Kenya always obliged. One such place was Oasi Pizza, some joint that wasn’t even particularly close to their apartment, but Satoru insisted they order from every time. Apparently, he knew the manager, somehow- Kenya had long given up on questioning Satoru about his strange knowledge of the city.

They ordered a pizza, and Kenya made sure to ask for mushrooms on it. He never liked them, but, well, Satoru did.

 

-

 

Somewhere along the line, they developed a routine, and evenings were time to spend together. They watched television a lot, and they usually ended up laying on the sofa together, one of them leaning on the other and making quiet comments about whatever was happening on screen together.

They made little games of it- guess what would happen next episode, or try to predict where a character’s arc was going.

Satoru was right more often than not, and Kenya swore that he had to be cheating somehow, even if he could never find proof of it. Satoru’s smile said it all, anyway.

 

-

 

One night, Satoru tells Kenya about his nightmares. He explains that he knows a lot of them won’t make a lot of sense, not to Kenya, but Kenya listens anyway. He listens, and he holds Satoru close, and tells him about his own nightmares. By the end of their recounting, they’re both close to tears, only held in by sheer will.

“I could never hate you,” Satoru whispers to him, and he shifts so he’s looking Kenya dead in the eyes. “I love you.”

He turns red enough that Kenya can see it, even in the dark of one of their rooms, but Kenya can see that he’s serious, and he means it, what with the horrendously determined look in his eyes that has always made Kenya feel blinded.

“I love you, too,” Kenya tells him.

They don’t kiss. Kenya doesn’t think he wants to kiss Satoru, even if that’s what people do in the shows they watch after saying such things. But he loves Satoru. That’s been true for ages.

Satoru lies down, and gets comfortable in their cuddle, and they fall asleep in each other's arms.

 

-

 

They keep saying it, though.

When Satoru leaves to do some work in his room, or to go to the main office of the manga studio, he tells Kenya, “I love you, see you later.”

When Kenya sees Satoru in their living room, reading, he sits next to him and tells him that he loves him.

They say it when they leave, when they see each other, for absolutely no reason at all.

It’s amazing.

 

-

 

One night, when they lay together before falling asleep, Satoru kisses the top of Kenya’s head, and wishes him a good night.

Kenya finds that it was nice, and the following morning, he kisses Satoru’s head back before he gets out of bed. And then, it joins the exchanges of “love you”, and the cuddling. They plant soft kisses on eachother, on their heads, shoulders, even hands.

Kenya still doesn’t like the idea of kissing- truly kissing, the way couples do- even with Satoru. It’s not like they ever do kiss like that, or even kiss each other’s lips; the closest they get is cheeks. He likes what they have now, but he doesn’t really think he wants anything more than that.

One evening, he tells Satoru this. He blushes a little, and Kenya smiles fondly, even though he’s a little anxious of whatever Satoru has to say.

“Okay,” Satoru tells him, “We don’t have to do anything like that. I don’t want to either.”

Kenya has to admit, that throws him off. He expected Satoru to… want that sort of stuff. Were they in a relationship? If they were, weren’t they meant to? 

“But… if we’re in a relationship, don’t we… kind of have to?” he questioned.

“Are we in a relationship?” Satoru asked, looking just as puzzled as Kenya himself.

Kenya takes a moment to consider. They certainly do more with each-other than they would typically do with any of their other friends. He knows that, while Satoru does tell Kayo that he loves her, it's different to the way he says it to Kenya- closer to siblings, than whatever it is they have. While Satoru hugs their friends, they never cuddle, and they definitely never kiss. Kenya doesn’t do any of those things with… anyone, outside of Satoru.

“I don’t know. We’re more than just… friends, though. Right? But… maybe, we don’t need to say exactly what we are. Maybe, we can just be us.” Kenya suggests.

“Just us?” Satoru smiles. “I like that.”

 

-

 

On the year anniversary of their move to the apartment, Kenya goes to some video rental store and picks up a copy of some popular anime film. It was realised not long after Satoru woke up, and he doubts that there was any way for him to have watched it. Still, though, he thinks that Satoru will like it, so he picks it up.

When Kenya turns the film on, though, Satoru laughs, and smiles at him.

“I love this film,” he smiles, and shushes Kenya when he tries to reply, quickly becoming engrossed in the film.

“How have you seen this before?” he whispers, in a quieter moment, since the film was only just a year old, and there was absolutely no way that Satoru could have seen it in a cinema.

“Don’t you know?” Satoru whispered back, “I’m a time traveller.”

How absurd. Seriously, if he’d just watched the film by himself at some point, he only needed to say.

-

 

The only thing is, that becomes Satoru’s go to excuse.

He knows far more than he logically should know- he has knowledge of events that happened right in the middle of his coma, when he should’ve had no way of knowing anything. He can read kanji just as well as Kenya himself, and his art skills have been amazing ever since he woke up- even if he logically shouldn’t have the ability to do either.

Satoru keeps up with pop culture just like the rest of them, even better than some of the others in the group.

Hell, Satoru even gets all of their inappropriate jokes, and even fires them back.

That could be written off. You could explain that away as him having rushed to catch up, or having learnt things vicariously. 

Harder to explain away, though, was Satoru’s knowledge of future events.

Satoru offhandedly mentions things that haven’t happened, and sometimes it’s completely normal- plots of films that haven’t come out yet, or him humming a song that plays on the radio four months later. Sometimes, it’s interesting news- he can tell you who won what award, although it’s weirdly specific on which he actually knows.

But then, it gets scary. He’ll casually mumble to himself, sometimes, and Kenya will catch little bits of it. Things like, “Oh, isn’t a typhoon going to hit soon?” or “I guess it’s about time that the Prime Minister died.”

That wouldn’t be scary, if they didn't come true.

Thank god that their small group had become used to simply listening to Satoru’s advice- because they rearrange plans that would have taken them into dangerous situations, as they later find out.

Kenya asks, and all he hears back is, “I’ve told you Kenya, I’m a time traveller.”

Sometimes, he thinks he could rip his own hair out.

 

 

Just as they’re going to bed, Kenya strikes.

He knows that a tired Satoru is an honest Satoru, and he intends to finally get answers for his questions.

“... I’m really not joking, Kenya. I’m a time traveller.”

“Just tell me,” Kenya all but begs, and Satoru laughs at him.

“Ask me in the morning, and I’ll tell you everything, okay?” he promises, before planting a kiss onto Kenya’s cheek and laying down.

 

-

 

The next morning, Satoru does exactly as promised- he sits down, and tells Kenya everything.

He tells him about what he called Revival, and the future life he’d lived. About his jump back to 1988, and the time after that.

As much as Kenya would love to scoff, and shrug it off… he can’t. It explains way, way too much.

So, when Satoru finishes talking, he takes a moment to think- and really, really think- and he nods, once.

“Okay,” he answers, feeling a little bit faint at the revelation that time travel is a real thing that Satoru had really experienced, “Alright. Thank you for telling me.”

Satoru looks at him weirdly, and asks, “You believe me…?”

“Well, it’s dumb to say that, isn’t it? It’s like announcing that I believe in air.” Kenya’s overwhelming feeling of what can only be catagorised as what the fuck bleeds away a little, if only for him to feel smug that he can use Satoru’s own words against him.

Then, he gets up, and makes himself a cup of tea, and considers everything, before deciding that his brain can truly not handle being melted any more today.

-

 

They don’t bring it back up again, until Kenya sees a film at the rental place, and just can’t resist.

When he gets home, he calls Satoru to come to the living room, and proudly holds up the video he’d rented.

“Hey, look,” he tried not to laugh, as he showed Satoru the copy of Back To The Future he’d brought, “It’s you.”

They laugh together, and plug in the film, and watch it.

Later that night, they go to bed together, and the next morning, they wake next to each-other.

The first thought that Kenya thinks, that morning, is “Thank you, revival.” The next is that this is where he is meant to be, and has always meant to be.

It’s a good thing that the universe decided to intervene, because Kenya could not imagine living a life where he wasn't completely in love with Satoru.

The morning goes just as any other, and Kenya smiles, because he knows that this will be how his future mornings will go, too. He makes breakfast, and puts on the coffee machine for Satoru, and smiles. After he pours a glass for Satoru, and a cup of water for himself, he raises his own in a quiet invitation to toast.  He doesn’t answer Satoru’s question on what it is that they’re toasting, but he thinks it with all his might. 

 

Here’s to the beginning of our future.