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It's soft, but it's there, and that's what really counts.

To Mahiro, nights are the worst time. Because he remembers. And he wonders. And he doubts. And all of that mixes into something that shouldn't exist in the head of a successful idol in the center of ambitious, up and coming unit with perfect ratings.

But it exists.

The first time Kaoru realized his roommate has it in his head is when he woke Mahiro up from his nightmare (if he is honest, Mahiro thought he saw an angel), then fussed around him until both of them were able to smile.

The second time was shortly before Mahiro's flower bloomed, Kaoru trying to help him in his own soothing way, by trying to get rid of the thoughts that obscured the growth of the red anemone.

(It felt like he was walking through a grey fog at the time, so it didn't really help, but. Mahiro is pretty sure, that, had he given Kaoru just a little bit more time to talk to him, his roommate would get through to him.)

Third time is when all this mess with Chi-san and Sena-san explodes, and both of them are too shaken up to stop Li-san from raging against one of the members, even if Mahiro is pretty sure that this is what whoever stood behind the accident wished for.

Fourth time is when he gets face to face with Ageha-san.

Kaoru doesn't know what happened, doesn't realize what was said and unsaid, but he still holds Mahiro through his spasms, through the hysteria he cannot- shouldn't let anybody see. But, Kaoru sees and Kaoru accepts. To him, it's simply a part of who Mahiro is. To Mahiro, Kaoru is much more than a person who just sees, though. He's their minus ion specialist, but even more, Mahiro's personal anchor, not as doting as Ryo-san, or as clingy as Chi-san, or not even as mysterious as Sena-san. He is, however, Mahiro's personal star.

Not that they really talked about it, both of them know they won't be able to use true words, not in the heavily monitored dorm, not in the car driven by a robot manager with all of his stats adjusted to manage them and listen on them.

But, that was also something great with Kaoru, he didn't really need words. He did once mention why it is so.

'I couldn't really speak, if the oxygen mask had to be used.' he admits with a small, sad smile that has Mahiro shuffle even closer to him. 'Mother learned to read from my lips, and, since I would get conscious only for a short time only, we mastered quickest way to communicate possible, you see.'

When Kaoru told him that story, Mahiro asked to sleep together for the first time.

They weren't sure how that would go over with the house system, that no doubt monitored their activity at night as well, but it turned out fine. They weren't woken up by an alarm or anything of sorts. It seemed that their closeness helped their flowers, so they were allowed to continue, their relationship an experiment even within the experiment that was HanaDoll...

See? That's what he means when he says the night is the worst time to be awake for him. Those thoughts, ironical, bitter, keep flowing, and he barely can keep them from staining what he has, what brings him happines.

He holds his breath, straining his ears, and sure enough, he catches it, the soft 'suu-whoo' you wouldn't even be aware of if you weren't listening for it.

Kaoru's breath is silent, is soft, but it's here. It's present, it's not muffled by an oxygen mask or a tube, and it's not away from Mahiro.

It's probably the only thing keeping him sane.

He tries to relax, because he cannot keep this stiff, or else he will...


Too late. But, maybe it was one of those nights he couldn't sustain himself on only breath. Even if he does feel the guilt at the thick sleepiness in that voice, at keeping Kaoru from getting his well deserved rest.

'I'm here. It's ok, go back to sleep, Kaoru.'


But, Kaoru is not the minus ion specialist for nothing. He turns, shuffles just a tiny bit closer, and reaches out his hand.

'You, too.' he says with a half-opened eyes and a tiny smile. 'It's okay, Mahiro.'

He has no idea how Kaoru knows. How he realizes every time Mahiro needs to hear that, that simple, generalized reassurance that sets all his senses at peace nonetheless. They were peers, so how come Kaoru managed to do this, every single time?

Mahiro reaches out. Linking their hands together, he also smiles.

'Okay. Goodnight, Kaoru.'

'Mh. Goodnight, Mahiro.' the voice slurs a tiny bit at the end already, and blue eye disappear completely under the eyelids.

Mahiro closes his own eyes only when he once again hears that silent sound of breathing.

Because as long as Kaoru breathes, they're going to be fine.