It starts as a whim.
Sewing dolls for his sisters is a hobby that Takashi indulges in rarely. He doesn’t take the supplies from the school club, and most of their money goes to the household and their schooling. Takashi tries his best. If he has an extra money, extra fabrics, he would sew soft and cute dolls. They can’t afford toys, but Takashi has his hands and his skills. It’s enough.
Lately, it’s easier. He has a part-time job that pays a little better than his previous ones. By the end of the month, after the bills and the groceries, there’s still a little extra money left. With it, he goes to his usual store and buys several centimeters of fabrics and strings, a dozen buttons, and a knitting kit for beginners.
It’s a trial run to knit the yarns, but he manages to finish two dolls of a frog cartoon character that his sisters have been obsessed with lately. Their gleeful joy of shrieks when he presents them to them is what he does this for. They couldn’t get enough of the new dolls. It’s clumsy work at best, but knit dolls are something entirely different than the usual rag dolls they get.
He has extra yarns. It takes only one look at the leftover for him to sit down for the entire night and finishes a doll that is not, for the first time, meant for his sisters.
He doesn’t know how Takemitchy will feel about this, but he thinks it’s cute. It’s only as big as his palm and it’s quite flat, but it’s unmistakably his friend, with his ridiculous gelled hair and even the small cowlick at the front. Seeing the Toman uniform in such a small body makes it even more endearing. All in all, it’s a job well done. Takashi is quite proud of it that he puts it on his study desk. Seeing the doll always makes him feel quite energetic, especially in the middle of the night when he feels like closing his book and go to sleep.
The first to see it is Hakkai.
“Taka-chan, is this supposed to be Takemitchy?”
The question is directed at him as he reenters his room with drinks. Hakkai is bent over his study desk, scrutinizing the doll Takashi slaved over a few weeks ago.
He puts down the drink on the table and approaches his friend with a smile. “It’s cute, isn’t it? I had extra yarns so I thought I’d do something with it. It turned out quite well.”
Hakkai is gawking over the doll, eyes twinkling and mouth open. “Somehow, I feel like this doll is screaming at me to get my shit together. Like I have to go out there and do a lap.”
Takashi feels the same. “That’s why I put it on my desk. I’ve been studying more diligently lately.”
They fall quiet, observing the determined expression of the doll together. Somehow, the blue button eyes are making it work.
Hakkai straightens up. “Taka-chan,” he calls. “Can you make one for me?”
Takashi raises an eyebrow, but shrugs. “Sure, I still have yarns.”
His vice-captain turns to him with a grin. “I’ll pay you back!”
“Ah, no need. Now sit down. We have a lot to go through if you want to pass your test.”
The second time is faster. Takashi has the second doll ready the very next day. It’s a little smaller than the first one, but Hakkai looks hopelessly enamored as he takes it into his hand gently.
“Taka-chan,” his friend says breathlessly. “This is even cuter than the one you have!”
He ends up covering their next grocery run. Takashi could only shake his head. As long as Hakkai is happy.
Something is spilling out of Hakkai’s bag. Something yellow. And black. And soft. It eventually tumbles out of Hakkai’s bag, pathetically bouncing off the road. Chifuyu stops to pick it up, takes in the blue button eyes, the yellow yarn hair, and that stupid cowlick.
Holy shit, it’s Takemichi, isn’t it?
He looks at Hakkai’s back. He hasn’t noticed yet and still keep walking.
Chifuyu looks down at the doll again. Why would Hakkai have this? Wait, who would even think to make such a thing? Does Takemichi even know? Is Hakkai a stalker? Possibly. He has Mitsuya as his wallpaper. What if he’s shifted his attention to Takemichi after that mess during Christmas?
“Oh, Chifuyu, thanks! I didn’t even notice!” Hakkai has finally noticed. He’s approaching Chifuyu with a grin.
When he grabs the doll, Chifuyu has a tight grip on it.
“Chifuyu?” Hakkai sounds confused.
Fuck fuck fuck fuck. What does he do? A good friend would do something, right? What do you even say in this situation, when your friend is stalking your other friend?
“This is…Takemichi, right?” he asks, not without some pain.
Hakkai brightens up. “You noticed!” Yeah, it’s be pretty hard not to. There’s only one bleached idiot with blue eyes around. “Taka-chan made this for me a couple weeks ago. I asked him because I saw he has one.”
What? He looks at the doll incredulously. Mitsuya is in on this, too? What the fuck?
Hakkai looks at him thoughtfully. “You know,” he starts. “You can ask Taka-chan if you want. I’m sure he’ll make one for you. Just make sure to pay him back.”
“What,” Chifuyu croaks out.
He doesn’t want the stupid doll. Who in their right mind would? But Hakkai insists that he brings back the doll to his house with twinkling eyes. Chifuyu wants to deck him.
He throws the doll to his bed along with his bag and goes to take a shower. When he comes back, the doll is there, staring at him with its beady blue eyes. He picks it up. What the fuck. It actually looks like Takemichi, down to that furrow on the eyebrows and the downturn of the mouth when he’s determined about something.
He can imagine Takemichi looking like this while yelling at someone to stop slacking when he’s pissed.
Shit, he does yell a lot when he’s under stress. A couple days ago, he went on a rant when Draken and Mikey got into a petty fight. Chifuyu wasn’t there when it happened and he only heard about it from Hakkai, but he saw Mikey subtly trying to apologize. In Mikey language, that means pushing Takemichi around a little then treating him to something. With Draken’s money. And consent.
Nobody else could push Mikey and Draken to do that, save from Emma, and now Takemichi. Takemichi doesn’t know it, but he has everyone’s respect. Anyone who can yell at Mikey and Draken and survive deserves that. The underlings definitely don’t fuck around with him either. They give Takemichi the same treatment they give the other captains. Even more so.
Takemichi is really something when he gets going.
Okay, so maybe he understands what Hakkai is getting at. But he’s definitely not getting one. It’s creepy. Even if Mitsuya is the farthest definition of creepy, and he has one.
He stares into the blue button eyes.
Maybe he’ll do his homework tonight.
“How much for one?”
Chifuyu exercises the greatest self-restraint known to man by attempting to punch Hakkai just once when he cackles.
Takashi stares at the lump of money in his hand.
“That’s a lot of money,” he says.
Inui, the newest addition to the gang, nods slowly. Behind him, the one known as Koko also looks unsure with what’s going on.
“I heard of what you made for Shiba and Matsuno,” Inui replies. “I’m proposing a deal with you. I know knitting is a time-consuming activity and as our third division captain, you are already balancing time between school, family, the gang, and your part time job. Think of this as a show of my loyalty and goodwill to Toman. There will be a lot more people asking for it from you. With this money, you can have the materials you need and of course, the compensation for your time.”
Oh, yeah, the doll. A couple more people have come forward to ask one from him after Chifuyu. Well, money is money. He pockets it, then looks into Inui’s distant eyes. Something is nagging at him. The instinct he’s honed as an elder brother to two lovely sisters who wouldn’t ask for anything even if they want it is tingling.
“Do you want one?”
Inui exhales in slow careful measure, his body relaxing. “I wouldn’t be opposed to. If I may request an alteration?”
Draken isn’t sure he can believe his eyes, but that’s a Takemitchy doll Emma is holding. At him.
“What the fuck is that?”
“Everyone has one!” Emma says fervently, thrusting the damned thing at him. “It’s not right that you and Mikey don’t have one. Take it, it’s your mandatory emotional support Takemitchy doll, made in Japan.”
Draken is confused as fuck, but he takes the doll. Yeah, that’s Takemitchy alright, with the hair and the blue eyes.
“I didn’t get you anything for Christmas, so here it is,” Emma says. She looks bashful.
It’s a nice gesture, but, “Does it have to be Takemitchy’s doll? I love the dude, but come on.” Especially coming from Emma. It’s a blow to his self-esteem.
Emma huffs as she settles down beside him on the bench. “Don’t say that. He’s done a lot for us. I would get one for myself, if I didn't know my future boyfriend would be stupidly jealous.”
Draken jolts. Something like anger rushing up to his head. He looks away. “Then your future boyfriend doesn’t know how great of a guy Takemitchy is, and we don’t want anyone like that.”
“Then, will you get me one?”
“Huh? Why would I?”
Mikey looks at the small doll attached to the keychain. Mitsuya came by to give him this. He knows everyone has a Takemitchy doll, dubbed by Emma. He has one, tucked away into his closet. But this one is personally made for him by Mitsuya. There’s no other one like it.
“I know we’re gonna miss him a lot. Especially you.”
Yeah, he’s gonna miss Takemitchy a stupid lot.
He takes out the key of his bike and attaches it to the keychain. It’s just the right size. It would fit into his pocket without bulging.
Now he’ll always have Takemitchy with him. Just like it should be.