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To Date Or Not To Date

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It wasn't in Toono's plans to wake up early. If there was something he would always be certain about when it comes to himself, funny how he still had those, is that he never plans to wake up before 11PM at least. His father called that laziness, but he prefered to refer it as 'playing it safe' on the amount of sleep he needed as a teenager.

But of course, he shouldn't have expected something as mundane as silence from the senpais that had brought him to this hotel. Ugh.

Rolling in his bed, grateful for being alone in the room, he managed to ignore the absurdly loud conversation happening in the next one while protecting his eyes from the sunlight entering through the window he didn't close the night before. Right when he thought things were starting to... get familiar; by no means he could say he's entirely satisfied with his current situation, with so many things happening so fast. But.

Things had started to feel real. He had... something here.

"Toono-kun, get out of that damn bed and come eat breakfast~" - Akemi-senpai exclaimed through the door, scaring the hell out of him. Why couldn't they knock first?!

"Don't come inside, I'm being serious!" - he quickly replied, knowing that no threats were the same as consent for the small blonde. He sighed in relief at the "Boooring~" he got as an answer, the blonde's voice getting distant as he made his way back to the others.

Moaning in frustration, he slowly pulled himself up from the bed and did his best to stretch for a bit - he had gotten the habit from constantly falling asleep on his chair while studying for the exams and waking up in a rather uncomfortable position, wasting minutes on moving his his limbs in whatever ways necessary to regain mobility. If he was like yacchan, he probably wouldn't have such problems with... involuntary nappings.

But, he was Toono. Unfortunately.

Getting dressed never took much long, and his hair... looking in the mirror, his fingers couldn't be stopped from reaching for the back of his neck to feel the growing hair that came to a length much closer to his shoulders than it previously did. Normally, he would brush it but he wasn't as interested in looking presentable and the others wouldn't care about it - he was barely convinced that Tamura-senpai even knew what a brush looked like.

Snickering, he made his way out of the room without looking where he was actually going and ended up walking right into someone's chest, which resulted in both parts holding onto each other while trying to regain balance - irritating the brunette, who only wished to get from point A to point B.

And he had all the intention to look right into the eyes of the person that had gotten on his path, frown in place until he lifted his head and recognized the person holding his arms: Kashima. He seemed surprised as well, judging by the way his eyes widened just a little.

Differently from Toono though, Kashima quickly recovered and smiled. - "What a coincidence, I was just thinking of you."

Toono, not for the first time mind you, asked himself if Kashima just liked throwing him out of his comfort zone while his cheeks felt like fire was licking his face.

Noticing he was still supporting himself onto the other, he pulled his arms from Kashima's grip and rearranged the last of dignity he had while using his fingers to brush his hair out of his eyes. - "W-what for? Ah, also, good morning."

Now, it was Kashima who seemed embarrassed and Toono felt it was just fair. - "G-good morning..." - his smile was apologetic, and his hand messed with the already somewhat unruly hair in that same casual way of someone that's trying to gain your forgiveness with their charm. Toono hated to admit it, but it worked. - "I was just thinking, if you would be interested in taking pictures with me today?"

Toono started to walk towards the distant sound of his senpais wrecking havoc, not pausing while blinking at the taller boy in confusion. - "You think Akemi and Itome-senpai would let us go out?"

Kashima, following him, reached his side and showed off a playful smile. - "Akemi-senpai's busy, isn't he? With his agenda... we could just go for a bit, nobody would notice."

Toono's heart skipped a beat, and his mind automatically focused on the idea of leaving to spend some time alone with Kashima. It sounded like a trap, or even worse... a date. Kashima had joked about being rejected before, but the truth was that he never did say anything definitive; he couldn't reach the bottom of why, but 'no' didn't... sound right?

If Kashima was doing a 'move' on him right now, the best decision would be to deny him. Right? Right. He didn't want to play with his friend's feelings, and Kashima should have clearer limits to what he could or not suggest for them!

Across the room they arrived in, Toono could see Yuri-kun and Jimmy feeding each other mango cubes while Akemi sat on Itome-senpai's lap right at the other side of the table, both couples loudly discussing the matters of an irritated Tamura while Shikatani-senpai maintained his inner peace in midst the circus. They looked like they didn't miss them at all.

"When should we go?"


It was a bit nerve-wracking, to pass through the main entrance of the huge building equipped with a bit of money in their pockets and none of their senpais; Toono was fairly sure the workers he interacted with on his way out were very confused with the way he pressed himself to Kashima's side in an effort to not look suspicious.

While he looked directly to ground, trying to not make eye contact with anyone, he felt his hand being taken by one much bigger and as much as his cheeks flared up, he was mildly grateful. - "Is everything alright?"

He would rather die than to admit he was scared of being caught. - "People could see our hands, Kashima."

"Our bodies are covering the view." - he promptly replied, squeezing Toono's hand gently in what could be said was reassurance. He wasn't dumb though, he knew Kashima would come up with many excuses if it got him what he wanted. At least he wasn't pouting. Yet.

They walked down the street, at first pretending to look at the surroundings - picking up their pace for no good reason at each step further into freedom. He wasn't sure who started it but soon they were running and laughing out loud, the adrenaline of maybe being stopped long shaped into something more light. They weren't alone but the few people around didn't care, so Toono's smile didn't go away the moment they broke their speed; their hands disconnected and his lungs burned but instead of complaining, he shared a look with Kashima for the sake of checking if he was the only one that felt like this. It was clear on the other's large smile that he wasn't crazy.

Hands on his knees and droplets of sweat, Kashima's breathless voice had a child-like wonder that reminded Toono of the day they met and the taller boy seemed genuinely interested on the matters of sex between two men. - "Since when did Toono enjoy making a scene?" - he teased.

"It's not that- wait, are you suggesting I'm boring, Kashima?" - he crossed his arms, blowing his now humid bangs out of his sight. Kashima shook his head, like a dog, and Toono's face instinctively scrunched up in disgust. Perhaps Shikatani-senpai's paranoia was contagious.

The other boy lift his head, fingers sinking into his short hair to pull the strands back and the sweat kept them in place, changing that same style Toono was used to into something he would find everywhere around Tokyo - he never quite understood the idea behind it, that desire to be special manifested in the most average of the haircuts. But on Kashima, it made a lot more sense. - "'Boring' and Toono can never have the same meaning for me, don't worry."

Blushing, he looked sideways while protesting: - "I wasn't worried about that!"

Kashima laughed, but Toono refused to look at him. He chose to stare at the sign from a little ice cream store, eyes caught by the colorful popsicles - even the ones supposed to be made of fresh juice looked vibrant, probably from all the added chemicals it contained to be so sinfully delicious. The day wasn't too hot, but the wind that danced around them did little to help him recover from all that running and he already felt himself watering, memories of times he used his remaining money from lunch to buy a cherry popsicle to enjoy alone.

Taken by his memories, it was too late for him to realize that Kashima had come closer when fingers gently held him by the chin and turned his attention towards another one of those softened expressions, so impossibly open it shook him. - "Do you want it?"

Did he? If he thought like Kashima, things would be simple. Yes or no? What is it, Takashi?

"Toono?" - blinking, the brunette came back from his sudden inner questioning to see Kashima's slight frown. Was that... worry? - "Are you feeling well? I've asked if you wanted a popsicle and you seemed to be far away... is it the heat?"

If Toono could have wished for anything, he would've used it to disappear - he wouldn't be surprised if steam came out of his ears judging by the heat consuming his entire face. What was wrong with him these days?!

Torn on what to do, he continued his silence and ignored Kashima's pouting over putting distance between them once again; frantically looking around, he became suddenly aware that there were people witnessing and most certainly judging them.

"Come here, Toono." - Kashima startled him, taking one of the hands that gripped his own shirt in his to guide them out of the middle of the street, a few feet away from the ice cream store and into a small park where they found a rather old but nonetheless majestic tree that provided the perfect place to rest, right under the ever so green leafs. The closer they came to it, the better Toono felt.

Kashima insisted on using the dark blue shirt he had wrapped around his hips to provide a clean place for him to sit, and Toono let him; the taller boy seemed to be taking care of the situation, but the brunette wasn't blind to the way Kashima had become quiet.

He didn't want to make the other regret going out with him. It hurt, just as much as any outsider looks would.

"I'll be back soon, can you take care of my camera while I buy us popsicles?" - the other's smile was tentative, but it was much better than the worrying lines. He nodded, taking the small device with utmost care while Kashima continued to watch him, obviously hesitant to leave.

Toono rolled his eyes. - "Where else would I go?"

Kashima's snickering came out as a relief for both of them, and the taller boy shook his head in amusement before making his way back to the popsicles. It was just when the other disappeared from his sights that Toono realized he hadn't given any money for his own treat.

He's buying food for you~, a suspiciously sounding voice commented. It sounded like Akemi-senpai. He winced.

Looking at the camera on his lap, he started to ask himself what he thought Kashima would be taking pictures of; the taller boy himself had explained that it was about 'noticing' details that most don't... but what did that really mean?

After a quick debate of whether he should or not see for himself what type of detailing caught Kashima's attention, the thumb that rubbed circles around the power button finally pressed it and in no time Toono was opening the gallery, somehow nervous but excited at the same time. He wanted to know more about Kashima, he realized.

Among trees, surrounded by grass and occasionally touched by the breeze of the afternoon, it was no wonder that his posture got progressively more relaxed while taking a look at the field of orchids, lilies, peonies... he heard himself snort, considering it amusingly endearing that Kashima seemed to really love flowers so much. There were also small creatures, like colorful butterflies and the cutest frogs that Toono had ever seen; he considered asking for the pictures, but quickly dismissed it as he would have to admit he looked into the camera.

There weren't actually a lot of pictures taken, and Toono wondered if it was because Kashima studied a lot... he got to the last picture, not much invested on it as he expected more of the same thing; but contrary to his assumptions, it was actually a picture of a person.

He couldn't explain why he took so long to recognize the person and remember the exact time in which it had been taken, perhaps because of how the light hit the scenario in such an ethereal way or the sheer meaning behind the focus, the saving of it, how Toono himself looked in it. Was that how... Kashima saw him?

"I've got two different flavors, in case you prefer blueberry to cherry!" - Kashima exclaimed from a few meters away and Toono's first reflex was turning off the damn camera; trying to not look guilty, his green eyes followed the other's arrival until he made a point of moving his ass enough so that Kashima could take a sit beside him and the happy smile he received served right on calming his nerves.

"I do like cherry more, actually." - he answered, keeping his cool. He was almost proud, not being the best at hiding his own actions from others in the past but it seemed that this time he was fast enough. His reward? A sweet, cold cherry flavored popsicle.

"So, I saw you taking a look into the camera... what did you think?" - Fuck.

Breath in, breath out. Open the plastic wrapper, do not give it in. - "Y-you've been taking less pictures than I expected."

Kashima, already with his own blue popsicle in hand, looked at him with surprise. - "Ah? I guess..." - his cheeks colored a little, while his smile made a return. - "What I wanted to capture the most is hard to come across, I could say."

Toono ignored his own heated everything with a weak laugh. - "I think your vision is b-beautiful anyways."

What was he doing?! Someone shut him up right now-

If looking sideways wasn't enough, stuffing the  damn popsicle inside his mouth certainly should do the trick to make Kashima to see what he really is dealing with; he almost choked on length of it, but managed to pass it from cheek to cheek while rolling his tongue around it, stubborn on keeping himself occupied. He moved the popsicle in and out by the wooden base, a technique he developed all those years ago to finish his cold treats in time for arriving home in the limits allowed while getting the utmost flavor out of it - coating his tongue and mouth instead of biting like most people would.

The only thing he didn't like were the noises he ended up making, always so loud and wet with a sounding ‘pop’ whenever he paused to lick the other end, an effort to catch the drippings before his hands got coated - it was efficient, and he always had fun if he squeezed his eyes shut and focused on it until he finished which happened fast in his opinion.

At some point he had rested his back against the smooth trunk of the tree behind them and now that his popsicle was closer to done, he popped it out after a quick suck to the tip and tasted the vague sweetness on his tongue as he swallowed, opening his eyes to look at the leaf blanket above them.

"A picture from here, upwards, would look great don't you think?" - he tested the waters, glancing at Kashima to access the situation. He met a pointed stare, mindless to the melting popsicle on the other boy's hand. - "Kashima?"

He didn't think Kashima's cheeks could go further than the usual pink, but red was a more accurate shade for him now. - "T-that's how you eat popsicles?"

Toono blinked. - "Is there some on my face?" - he quickly ran his tongue across his cooled lips, searching for it. When he found nothing, he looked back at Kashima who seemed to be having some kind of epiphany from the expressions he was making? - "Shouldn't you eat yours before it melts?"

"I lost interest." - he replied, almost sounding miserable. Toono tilted his head, looking at the blue popsicle. Unashamedly exchanging glances between the treat and Kashima. - "You... can have it."

Happily satisfied with the permission, he quickly swallowed the last of his own before taking Kashima's - his wandering eyes accidentally caught the moment the taller boy brought his own sticky hand close to peaking tongue and licked it clean, thick fingers being sucked between Kashima's considerably plump, soft lips... now both of them were blushing furiously.

"So..." - they said, at the same time, and immediately shut up - staring at one another before laughing, both unable to stop. There were few times in which Toono could say he had laughed until his stomach hurt, and Kashima seemed to be actually crying; Light-headed, thinking of all the things that had happened until now... everything suddenly sounded so funny.

He hadn't thought of his father's call this whole time.

"It's getting late already and we didn't take any pictures." - Kashima commented, picking up his camera from Toono's lap. Even so, he looked happy. - "Did you have fun?"

A bit shy, he replied honestly: "Yeah, you're good at that. Making people happy."

He watched those grey eyes widening before that same softened look took over, lips curved in a more subtle smile. - "Thank you, Toono." - and like the flash of his camera, Kashima shortened the distance between them and planted a quick, chaste kiss on his cheek; lips and hand cupping his jaw gone as fast as they came.

"Let's go? We still have to get back without no one noticing!" - and just like that, it was like it never happened.

After that he groaned in complaint for having to walk all the way back and accepted Kashima's help to get up, tried his best to clean the other's shirt and had to accept failure while Kashima assured him it would be as good as new when cleaned. They took a picture together, by Kashima's insistence, and discarded the trash in the nearby can. He built up the courage to ask for the small frog pictures, making Kashima promise he would take a lot more to show him.

Going back to the hotel was uneventful, and they arrived at perfect time for dinner with the rest of the club - discovering that they did indeed miss them but at last assumed they were just fucking in some secret place around the hotel, which almost got their senpais planning a party for his supposed loss of virginity. Needless to say, he went to sleep earlier than normal.

During all of it, Toono had to ignore the sensation of Kashima’s lips touching his cheek - failing miserably once he reached his bed. His fingers caressed the place, the texture wrong but the pressure similar enough to bring it - the memory and feeling - back; making his heart race and eyes water.

He was so fucked.