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ritsu grew like the sapling of a plant that rested on his windowsill, small and gradual with bumps and bruises and sudden care, while mob grew like the tree that sat on their front yard, small and tiny and then suddenly it was big and tall and mature.

looking back at it now, it wasn't sudden at all. he should've seen it when he walked to school in the early morning and saw the branches reaching a bit higher, a bit taller with the tiniest of leaves on its thin branches. should've seen it when he walked out of his home only to see his mother watering the tree with a gentle smile on her face and a soft tune falling out her lips. should've seen it when summer hit, his tears still fresh and the tree growing into the sun with his father by his side, “i'm happy the tree grew,” he said and ritsu couldn't help but ask, “why?”

“we put a lot of care into it, your mother always came here in the morning to water it,” he laughs, “i wonder when she found the time.”

ritsu didn't answer, didn’t speak of shou coming up to his house resting on the tree with his eyes closed and whispers flying into the air, didn’t speak of teruki coming over when the tree was still small with fertilizer in hand- forcing ritsu to help him mix it into the dirt with their bare hands. didn't speak of reigen and serizawa coming over, reigen poking fun at the tree and coming back the next day with soil in his hand and a shovel in the other- serizawa by his side digging into their front yard at four in the morning.

didn’t speak about how he stared at the tree in the rising sun, memories of battle and yells fresh in his mind, and thought, fleetingly- quickly like the squirrel the made home in its leaves, of how he wished for it to grow. didn’t speak of him at four in the morning, dirt on his knees and dirt stuck underneath his fingernails- reigen refusing to let him use his powers for some reason and serizawa laughing quietly by his side, didn’t speak of the lightness in his shoulders when teruki laughed and said goodbye, his hands stained brown, didn’t speak of the smile on his face when shou whispered sweet nothings to the tree in the bright sun.

didn’t speak of the nights when everything was too much and with nothing left to lose but his pride he leaned back on the tree and closed his eyes, letting everything sink in and everything fly out. didn't speak of the time mob was up, milk in hand and a sleepy blur to his eyes and yet despite the sleep that riddled his mind he still had the kindness to be concerned.

putting his glass down, a downturn to his lips and worry in his eyes he spoke with the gentleness of his mother's lullabies, “what happened?”

and he smiled, walked a bit closer and let his hand rest against his, “nothing, i just wanted to go out.”

and of course, because mob always seemed to know what to say- always spoke with unintentional love in his words, he smiled- clear and bright and small, so much like him and so much like the tree that grew in their front yard, “okay.”

and ritsu felt light, airy, like a feather in the dark sky. just like the tree, mob was lovely and pure with nothing but good intentions and a desire to help and grow. mob spoke with care and love, with gentle words like the caress of a breeze against your cheek- like the blanket he wrapped around himself in the cold of winter, he was nothing but good and because of that, because of the pureness in his soul- the innocence that twinkled in his eyes and shined in the golden light, he attracted others.

attracted people who cared about him more than themselves, people who were so eager, so nice and pure and redeemed. people who came to their house with things for a tree that wasn't even theirs, people who came at the crack of dawn just to help a tiny tree grow for no reason other than to help.

and, in the beginning of spring, the tree grew- tall and proud just like his brother who stood by his side, a smile brighter then he ever seen on his face- surrounded by friends who wanted nothing more than to see him prosper.