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Qualified to Love

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Masayoshi was in love with Goto, he knew that much. He had lacked the life experience to concretely recognize any form of interpersonal love within himself until a few months ago (he had previously only understood it in the abstract), but the moment he did, he knew for certain.

The way Goto's laugh warmed his whole body wasn't the same as the pleasant tingle when he did the same for Ishihara. He didn't buy the ingredients to Mari's favorite meal when he saw them on sale just to make her smile, even if the both of them were chefs of middling skill at best. He didn't skip all the way home when he was promised a sentai marathon with anybody else.

He didn't feel the same overwhelming desire to kiss anyone but Goto.

As of late, it was like someone had placed a magnet inside the both of them, Masayoshi's body instinctively leaning closer to Goto's when they sat side by side on the bed while they watched TV, eyes honed in on his chapped lips when they'd usually be glued to the screen. He had seen many romantic, passionate kisses at the end of the battle during his favorite shows, hero tearing off their helmet to greet their lover in a passionate embrace, smashing their lips together in a kiss that screamed to the world "We did it!"

Masayoshi wished he could have done that with Goto after defeating King Torture. Or Beyond Flamenco. Or the prime minister. Or Alien Flamenco-

After all his triumphs, honestly. Not that he had known at the time for any of them, of course. He had simply chalked up the powerful urge to touch Goto in some way a result of left over adrenaline and nothing more.

But now he was stuck in a predicament that would have made even Harakiri Sunshine stumped.

He didn't know if Goto loved him like he did.

Sure, he knew that Goto loved him in some way, his actions were in line with what Ishihara had told him- he watched over, protected, advised, cared for him. All things that Masayoshi now knew meant love.

Which he also knew was sadly not completely the same as in love.

Wanting to protect someone doesn't mean you want to kiss them. Advising someone didn't necessarily signal that you wanted them by your side as a lover. Caring for someone did not immediately mean the love you felt was romantic. 

For all he knew, Goto simply saw him as a close best friend, nothing more nothing less. He hadn't rejected his proposal that time, but he could have seen it as Masayoshi's last minute desperate attempt to deescalate the situation, not as a serious offer. 

Of course he refused to doubt his importance in the other's life, he had far too much evidence that he meant something to him, but his newness to the whole "love" thing made the prospect of just... asking, seem daunting. He was terrified of destroying the best relationship he'd ever had with another living human.

But a hero powered through their fear.

So one warm summer evening, he decided that he was finally going to confess his feelings. It was a scarier prospect than facing down super villains, monsters, or aliens of mass destruction, but a hero never gives up!

This decision is what led him to the situation he was in now, sitting on the couch with his legs pulled up and arms around him, forcing his nervous gaze onto the TV rather than the handsome face beside him. He had relinquished control of the programming choices today (Goto had offered to let him choose most days, because he was so nice) so a baseball game was playing. Masayoshi didn't know a thing about sports, though he respected the athletic ability of it's players, but Goto seemed fairly invested.

So baseball is something Goto likes...

Almost perfectly timed with the famous THWACK of a ball making contact with the bat, Masayoshi realized that really, he didn't know all 7that much about Goto, despite feeling like he knew so much. He knew about his traumas, his taste in beer, the way his hair looked when he woke up in the morning, the way he smelled after a shower, yet very little about his hobbies, what he did when Masayoshi wasn't around...

...was he really qualified to love him like this?

Maybe he should just-

No, he realized, finally looking at Goto's relaxed, wonderful face, that means I love him more, because I want to know more about him. I've never wanted to know about all of someone like this. I love him. I love him so much.

"I love you."

There must have been a lull in the game or a commercial break, because Goto had just turned to speak with Masayoshi, lazy smile falling slack in surprise. His tone and his wording left no room for doubt which kind of love Masayoshi had meant. That wasn't particularly how he had planned for this to go, but he could roll with the punches.

It's not like he had a choice anyhow.

"You, uh, do?" Goto sounded like he would be content to pass it off as a Masayoshi misspeaking, but that wouldn't sit right with his companion. If there were consequences for his actions, he'd accept them. Resolved reaffirmed, Masayoshi straightened his posture to the best of his ability, making a face leagues more serious than he had ever shown to a villain or other such wrongdoer, "Yes, very much."

Goto averted his eyes, and it was with horror that Masayoshi realized that his gaze had gone over to his phone. It was years newer and sleeker than his old one, but it still held...

"I'm sorry. I should have thought about-"


Masayoshi flinched at the volume of Goto's voice, who looked far more afraid of himself.

"No. That's not the problem. I-" taking in a deep breath, he reached out to take the remote and shut the TV off, before turning to face Masayoshi properly, "I know. I mean, I've known. You might be naive,  but you're not a child, I know you know what a proposal means."

"You... knew?"

Goto nodded, leaning back so his head lightly thunked against the wall, "Probably before you did even. You're not the subtlest person on the planet."

If that accusation wasn't leveled at him so often, Masayoshi might have been embarrassed.

"But I'm a coward. And I was just waiting on you to do something about it, because if I did... you know what it would mean. And now it's happened."

Masayoshi's eyes tightened in sympathy, before immediately widening in realization.

"You were waiting for me to- does that mean!?"

The smile Goto wore at that moment was Masayoshi's favorite expression on him (which was high praise considering he liked all of them a whole lot), a small, soft smile, that said Of course, you idiot.

Little other encouragement needed, Masayoshi launched himself into hugging Goto, who was barely prepared for the impact. The embrace was tight and brief, an expression of longing that had long been suppressed, under misunderstanding and fear. They remained that way for a minute, before Masayoshi pulled away, face imploring.

"I won't force you, but could you say it? ...please?"

Goto placed a hesitant hand on Masayoshi's cheek, still smiling "You're being too nice to me about this. I was an ass and strung you along, this is the least I could do. I love you too, my heroic freak."

"You're so mean," Masayoshi teased, but his tone lacked any form of bite, instead resuming their embrace. He understood why this was so sought after; the warmth of Goto's body against his, the feeling of their heartbeats thumping rapidly, the sound of Goto's breathing in his ear. This was a sensation he couldn't get from anyone but Goto, nor would he want to.

"It's not going to be easy, being with me," Goto muttered into Masayoshi's shoulder, voice small and tender, "I'm sure as hell not perfect."

"I know."

"I'm probably going to mess up."

"I will too."

"You're too good for me."

"That's what I'd say about you."


"That's me."

Goto laughed and squeezed even tighter, "I love you."

Masayoshi grinned, "I love you too."

After a moment in their blissful haze, they did sadly have to pull apart. Their eyes met with an understanding that had always been there, but just out of their reach. 

No more.

Masayoshi gave in to an impulse he first had months ago, running his hand through Goto's short dark hair, "Do you want to finish your baseball game?"

"You interested in it?"

"Not really, but I like what you like."

Adjusting their positions so that his arm was over Masayoshi's shoulder, who was tucked against his side (the fact that he was taller made it awkward, but not unpleasant), Goto turned the TV back on, "You know, you're pretty good at being in love considering how little you know about it."

Gazing up adoringly at Goto, Masayoshi's expression was positively serene, "I think you're just a great person to be in love with."

As the baseball announcers chatted away about whatever play had just occurred, Masayoshi smiled wider than he ever had as Goto muttered, with red cheeks, "That's my line, weirdo."•