Reki opened his eyes slowly trying to blink the fog out of them. That was a crazy dream, it was almost as if he-
“Reki! Are you okay? You passed out!” Langa was currently looking down at him with the others hovering over them. There was panic clearly painted in the blue eyes glued to him.
“I did? That’s so crazy, I thought I was sleeping. I was evening dreaming!” Reki could have sworn he just woke up form a really intense dream. Wait, if he wasn’t sleeping then- “I did dream I placed in the top ten, right?”
A huge smile broke out over Langa’s face, one of his rare ones that only Reki or his mom got. For a moment Reki forgot what he even asked until he got an answer, “No Reki, you got 10th place, you almost beat me.”
“Oh well then no wonder I passed out, a miracle has struck in Huntington Beach,” he chuckled, fighting off his embarrassment at his own ridiculousness. Thankfully, everyone else laughed with him and gave their congrats before relaxing back in the grass like before. Except Langa.
“It wasn’t a miracle Reki, it was because you deserve to be in the top ten,” his smile from a moment ago had vanished and was replaced by a very serious stare.
“Ah come on man, you don’t know that. You didn’t even see me skate, how could you know where I should place,” he retorted, trying to appear playful instead of shy over the praise.
Langa simply shrugged, “Because you’re a solid top ten skater.”
Reki couldn’t even think of an answer to that, his face turned three shades darker, and he just ducked his head. Why did he always have to do that? Talk about him like he was this amazing top notch skater as if it was the most concrete fact he knew? He talked like that about everything Reki did, like when he helps him with his coursework, makes a new deck design or just hits a trick he’d been working on. Reki usually brushed off praise. People said it to be nice, and he knew that was about it, so he didn’t take any stock into it. Langa, though. Langa spoke about him so earnestly and with such sincerity that he always felt his words so much that it made his skin tingle.
He was trying to will his cheeks to cool down when the Coaches got their attention that they were headed back to the hotel, and they could stop for souvenirs on the way. The final skate was tomorrow morning and was expected to get done in the early evening, which meant they would have plenty of time to either celebrate or nurse their wounds. As proud as Reki was about today, he wasn’t getting his hopes up.
They all dragged themselves to their rooms, dead tired and ready to sleep even though it was barely 8 o’clock. Must be the jet lag Langa warned him about, he was exhausted. They both showered and flung themselves onto the bed.
Great, this stupid bed again. He never thought he had the ability to hate a bed, but he hated this one. When they first got into the room yesterday, he almost laughed. Of course, he had been having complete meltdowns over his interactions with his best friend all month and now this? He was going to share a bed with him. He hadn’t expected that Langa’s admission of his sexuality would impact him so hard, but it did.
Reki went to great lengths to try and be more polite with his affections. Jeez, he had always flung himself on Langa and constantly touched him. He must be so uncomfortable when Reki did that, even though he was way too nice to tell him so. He probably hates all the affection from him, he would probably much rather be touched by a guy he was attracted to and likes. Reki was just his friend, nothing more. He’s probably so bummed that the first guy he shared a bed with was with him instead of a guy he was interested in.
Yet, even with all those thoughts whirling around in his head, he still couldn’t help the touches. He didn’t realize how much he craved that, the brief touches, the leaning into him when he didn’t know what to say. He needed to touch Langa, to show him that he was there. As if touching him ensured he didn’t forget Reki cared. God, he was so pathetic.
He had been staring up at the ceiling for a while now, trapped in his thoughts. A gently nudge broke his trance and he heard Langa almost whisper, “You’re in your head about something.”
“Am I that obvious?”
“I think I’ve just learned to read you pretty well,” Reki rolled over to find that Langa was already looking at him, “you can talk to me if you want.”
He couldn’t very well tell him he’d been thinking about how vital physical contact with him was for his mental health, that was a sure way to freak him out. He was staring at him so intently though, that he found himself blurting out, “How did you know you were attracted to guys?”
What the hell Reki!? Too personal. But… It had been a question that he found himself almost asking a million times over the last month. He would be lying if he said it wasn’t trying to find out a specific detail that Cherry had mentioned, “I kissed one of my guy friends and it all clicked for me,” and all he thought about was the idea of Langa figuring it out the same way. It made him nauseous, but he needed to know.
Langa looked like he was thinking very hard, like he was trying to solve a puzzle till finally he said, “I just knew, I guess.”
Well, that was anticlimactic, “What do you mean you just knew!? No specific moment happened or anything!?”
“Not a moment per say. I’ve never been attracted to girls and- and I knew that I was more aware of guys, like who were objectively attractive. I don’t know how else to explain it,” his blue eyes shifted downwards like he’d given the wrong answer.
“Langa, hey,” he tapped his chin so he would look back up at him, “I think just knowing is actually really nice,” they both smiled at each other before rolling over to sleep.
“Wish it were that simple for everybody,” he muttered.
“Oh, nothing,” he lied.
Langa had woken him up again that morning, just another example of how Reki thought he was uncomfortable sleeping with him. Langa slept like the dead, he was never the first one up. Reki tried not to focus on that as they made their way into the skatepark. There were still hundreds of people but way less cluster since there were only 40 skaters now. How the hell did he manage to get here?
The park skaters went first, and everyone killed it, Langa had to have set a record on the air he got. They were in the grass, waiting for street to begin. Reki had set himself apart from the others so he could think better, even though Langa gave him a look that said he didn’t want him to be alone. He felt a hand on his shoulder, and when he looked up, he expected Coach Ukai. He was surprised to see Coach Hina smiling at him while she took up the empty space next to him.
“Nervous, huh?” She said it very matter-of-factly.
“I’m trying not to be, Coach Ukai told me something about skating for someone else last competition and it worked really well for the prelim but- it sort of made me buckle in the final skate.”
She nodded, “Because thinking of the person only made you think of how far behind them you were and the pressure kinda fogged your brain?”
Reki’s eyes went wide, “Yes, exactly,” his eyes shifted to Langa for a moment, “I try not to be jealous or anything but I just- I just want to prove I deserve to skate with him- them! Skate with them, that person.”
“Ahh Red, whoever you think about is no business of mine, don’t worry. I will tell you though, you can’t think about anyone when you’re doing a final skate. I know, I used to buckle all the time because I thought the exact way you did. All it did was manifest all my insecurities and I didn’t even realize I was skating until it was over.”
Wow, he had never heard someone explain how he felt like that before. Maybe Langa was right that they had more similarities than just their red hair.
“Let me tell you something I figured out a long time ago,” Reki leaned in intently, “nowadays people like to label admiration as jealously in order to breed it into a hateful thing. Going out on that floor with the sole purpose of skating for someone else’s approval or to be better than they are, will always twist admiration into something wrong, create pressure. You must skate for yourself, no one else. You must turn that admiration you have for the person you casually skate for onto yourself. You are a skater worth admiring for those three minutes in front of those judges. You must be your own Langa,” she finished with a wink.
Reki just sat back, with his mouth hung open. Just before he could get the ability to speak back, his number was called. Coach Hina gave him a playful shove towards the warmup area.
How was he supposed to admire himself like he admired Langa? He was always working for Langa to be the one admiring him, not himself. Coach Hina described how he viewed himself like no one ever had before, she knew how he felt. She wasn’t sympathizing, she knew. How did she admire herself all the time? No wait, that’s not what she had said, was it? “You are a skater worth admiring for those three minutes,” that’s what she’d said.
As he was signaled to the start line, he looked at the judges for the first time. They were looking at him. All their eyes were intent on him. He wanted to shy away from it, but he couldn’t stop hearing it, “You are a skater worth admiring for those three minutes.”
The horn blew, and he got lost.
He got lost in the sensation that he was being watched; he had the power to spark admiration within himself if he just stopped automatically thinking he would fail. That was the one thing he never let himself admit, that when Langa praised him or the S guys hyped him up, he wanted to believe them. He wanted to believe them so bad that it hurt his heart, but he never could let himself. Reki really did want to be believe that he was a good skater, and if he couldn’t do that all the time, then he could at least manage three minutes. For these three minutes, he would believe in himself. Yea, he could manage three minutes…
Once the final buzzer sounded and he skated over the line he felt, calm. He did everything he wanted without hesitation, even hit a new trick since Langa couldn’t see the one from yesterday. He thought he did okay, he could be proud of-
The sound of frantic cheering broke him out of his trance, and he looked up to see all his team plus Langa’s loosing their shit. Sakura and Noya were jumping up and down, Suki had Miya in a hug while she shook him like a ragdoll, Yugi and Ryo were cheering while pumping their fists in the air, Coach Hina had jumped onto Coach Ukai’s back and was screaming like a banshee, and Langa was… wiping his face? Reki only saw it for a second before the blue haired boy started cheering with the others.
Damn, he could get used to this feeling. Even if it only lasted a few minutes.
The scores were going up any minute now, he didn’t even really care that much though. Well, that was a lie, but he didn’t care as much as usual. He had a breakthrough today that was just as important as any score. He might not be able to believe in himself all the time, but for a short time today, he did. That was a huge deal to him.
“No matter what the results are, you skated better than I’ve ever seen you before. It was beautiful Reki, you’re becoming a serious skater,” Langa’s eyes had shone on him since he got back from his run. Reki didn’t hate it.
“Thanks man, you did incredible as usual,” he could have sworn he saw a faint blush on his pale cheeks.
“Alright guys shut the hell up, its happening! Stay calm!” Coach Hina screamed.
Coach Ukai laughed, “Take your own advice Hina.”
They looked at the huge screen in the middle of the park where the scores suddenly lit up with names and numbers.
For the park skaters: Miya- 10th, Kuroo- 15th, Sakura- 8th, Noya- 18th, Langa- 5th
Reki temporarily forgot that he had to look at the street scores also because he was jumping up onto Langa, snagging him in a tight hug, “Langaaaa, you got top 5! You’re freaking incredible dude, this is so awesome!”
Langa reached up behind his shoulder to take Reki’s face in one hand and force it to look at the scoreboard again.
For the street skaters: Yugi- 16th, Suki- 10th, Ryo- 9th, Reki- ….. 5th
“You made the top five too,” Langa said as if it were an obvious result.
Reki dropped off is back and just stared at the board. He couldn’t believe it. He tied with Langa; he got the same place as freaking Langa. The best skater Reki knew.
He felt an arm wrap around his shoulder as Coach Hina leaned in and whispered, “Like I said, worth admiring. You killed it, Red,” she smacked a kiss into his hair and pushed him gently towards the others.
“Okay my beautiful, wonderful, badass people. Great freaking job. You couldn’t have skated better in my eyes, I speak for Shota as well. Now let’s celebrate!” Coach Hina hopped on Coach Ukai’s back, and they led the way to food and the beach.
Around 8 o’clock, everyone made the decision to head back to the hotel. A lot of them were exhausted and in desperate need of showers from playing on the beach for the rest of the evening. Reki, Langa, and Sakura were invited over to Noya and Ryo’s room when they all got ungross. Ryo wouldn’t be there since all the younger guys were hanging out in Suki’s room playing video games.
They all sat around the small room talking until Sakura burst through the door. “Guess what I got,” she said as she held up a bottle of something called Captain Morgan, “I swiped it from a wedding going on downstairs.”
Noya leapt onto the bed, “You sneaky, wonderful bitch. Oh, how I love thee.”
Sakura laughed and look at them, “Do you guys ever drink? I can never remember the legal ages for anywhere.”
Reki scratched the back of his neck, “The legal age is 20 in Japan, so I’ve never actually drank. I’ve tried it to taste it but never more than that.”
Langa nodded, “Yea, I never had friends in Canada to drink with so I never really have either.”
Sakura raised a brow, “Do you guys want to? No pressure at all, if you don’t!”
Reki looked at Langa, who gave his classic “whatever” shrug, “Sure!”
Noya smacked his hands and rubbed them together with an evil grin, “Shall we play Never Have I Ever?”
Sakura gave a woot but must have noticed their confused looks, “It’s a drinking game. A person says something they’ve never done and if any of the other people have done it, they have to drink!”
Reki nodded, “Sounds pretty simple.”
“I’ll go first! Never have I ever had to run from the cops naked for doing a polar plunge on private property,” Noya said casually.
Sakura’s eyes went wide, “Oh, I am so getting you back for that one asshole,” then she took a swig from the bottle.
It took about three drinks for Reki to decide he was probably tipsy. Not as drunk as Noya, who had taken it upon himself to go back downstairs to swipe another bottle from the wedding as it was winding down and no one was paying attention. Reki had laughed till his sides were hurting, Sakura and Noya were hilarious. Their bickering reminded him of Joe and Cherry almost.
Langa had drank as many drinks as him, but it was less obvious if he was feeling it as much as Reki was. He couldn’t explain the feeling, usually Reki was really careful before he said something or did something, but alcohol had taken that ability away from him completely.
When his turn came around he announced, “Never have I ever ducted taped my feet to my skateboard!”
Langa looked at him like he’d slapped him, “I was scared of falling off the board you jerk!” He stared at Reki a second longer before he took another drink and they both started laughing.
When he finally settled again, he looked at Reki, “Fine then, never have I ever been to a love hotel!”
Reki’s could feel his cheeks light up as he took a drink. Sakura, who was sitting on his other side asked through her giggles, “What the hell is a love hotel?”
Noya chimed in, “I think we can paint a pretty good picture with the name,” and they all launched into another fit of laughter.
Sakura sunk down to sit on her heels, her face scrunched in concentration, “Damn, I can’t think of anything, we’ve been playing too long. Oh! This one is bound to get one of you, never have I ever kissed a girl!”
When everyone saw that Reki was the only one to drink, they looked at Noya, “That’s not even fair, you witch! You know that no girl comes near me because they’re all scared of you!” That sent everyone into hysterics, “Fine! Never have I ever kissed a guy.”
As Sakura kept laughing, she stuck her tongue out and took a drink. The mood was still the same, but Reki felt a rock sink to his stomach as he peaked beside him at Langa. He could have wept with relief when he just sat casually, not taking a sip.
They stayed in until way passed midnight, Reki had stopped drinking a good while ago but by that time Noya was doing the macarena in his underwear with a lampshade on his head. They popped over to their room, shhing each other every time they broke out laughing. Once they were inside, they started getting ready to go to sleep, bickering back and forth between laughs.
Langa pointed at him with one arm still trying to get out of his sweatshirt he’d borrowed from Reki, “I can’t believe you brought up the duct tape, isn’t that considered an S secret? Is nothing sacred!? So childish!”
Reki snorted, “Oh, don’t even! I’m 18 now if you forgot and I believe you brought up the love hotel! Sakura and Noya probably think I’m some knock off version of a guy like Joe.”
Langa smirked, “It didn’t help that you were the only guy that drank at the kissing question.”
Reki’s face felt hotter than it already was with the alcohol from earlier still slightly swimming through him, “Ugh, I wouldn’t even count them, they weren’t anything to write home over. Hell, one of the two was a dare.. and she tried to change it to truth after!”
Langa looked at him with a blank expression from a second, before his mouth started twitching at the ends and it was obvious he was trying not to laugh, “I’m sorry that happened Reki,” his shoulders were bobbing at this point.
He rolled his eyes, “Just let it out you jerk,” as soon as the words were out, Langa doubled over laughing. Reki was positive he saw tears in the corner of his eyes, “You know, I don’t know how to feel about the amount of people that have cried laughing at my expense lately,” he chuckled lightly.
“Who else laughed at you that hard?” he was basically done laughing, wiping the corner of his eyes.
“Just Cherry, apparently asking his how he knew he liked girls was a dumb question,” Reki shrugged.
“It is, isn’t Cherry gay?” Langa gave him a confused look.
“Okay, I didn’t know it at the time, thank you! I ended up rewording it after he was done laughing at me,” once he said the words, he’d realized he was talking about a conversation involving him figuring out his attraction to Langa. Dangerous territory. Abort, Reki. Abort.
“How did you reword the question?”
“Oh, just asked him the same thing just changed genders, no biggie!” Reki willed the hot guy in front of him to drop the subject.
Wait, did he just think about Langa being hot? Oh no, oh no.
“Just like you asked me?”
Reki was nervous muttering now, dashing around the room, fixing invisible things before he made it over to the lamp in the corner as if dimming the light would signal sleep and the end of this conversation, “Well, yea. I mean, I just wanted to understand, ya know. Since Cherry said he knew when he kissed a guy for the first time so I- I was just wondering-,”
“You wanted to know if I’d ever kissed a guy?” Reki couldn’t place the tone of Langa’s voice, and he refused to turn around to look at his face for clues.
“Yea, I- I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have-,”
“I’ve never kissed a guy, I’ve never kissed anyone,” his voice sounded closer and way raspier than usual, “you could have just asked me.”
“That’s a very personal question and I- I,” his voice was basically a whisper at this point, his brain was TV static.
“Wait, why did you ask Cherry to begin with?”
What was with everyone wanting to know why Reki asked that question, he asked questions all the time with no cross examination. He couldn’t tell Langa, he really couldn’t, but his word filter was still MIA.
Before he knew he was talking he heard himself say, “Because I was trying to- to figure out if I was attracted to guys the same way I’m attracted to girls," well, no turning back now, "I’ve thought about it for a while, and I guess I just wanted to know how I could know for sure because, well- the idea of being with anyone in that way makes me anxious so I’ve never really thought so much into it. I had kissed girls and liked it, so I didn’t really look any deeper because why bother if I’ll never be able to- just never mind. I basically just didn’t know and was in my head about it, so I asked Cherry. The end.”
He heard Langa take a sharp inhale, he could feel him right behind him in the now dim room. He didn’t know why but he desperately needed Langa to say something, anything. He stayed silent though. He knew it was stupid, asking something like that. Langa knew what he was attracted to without needing any validation.
Reki felt his voice catch as he said, “Pretty pathetic I guess, like you said, you should just know.”
Instead of the confirmation he was sure he was about to get, Langa asked a question.
“Would you want to kiss me?”
“What!?” His back went straight and he instantly started fiddling with his fingers. Kissing Langa was sort of the fantasy in the back of his head that he didn’t understand nor had the courage to figure out.
“It’s okay to not be sure. You were asking me if that’s how I knew, to see if it was kissing a guy, so you’ve obviously thought that would hold your answer. So, would you want to kiss me?”
Reki could feel his heart lodge itself in his throat. That’s what Langa thought the reason for his question was? He would let Reki kiss him to figure out-, “No, no Langa. I wouldn’t take your first kiss away like that. It should be with someone you actually want to kiss, not me,” he still hadn’t been able to turn around and face him. He had almost found the courage to when he felt a hand ghosting up his arm.
He let out a breath as he felt Langa’s hand move up and down him arm, barely touching him but at the same time catching him on fire. He did it a few times to see if Reki would move away, he didn’t, he wanted him to keep touching him any way he wanted to. After a moment he felt a solid warmth spread through his back as Langa pressed his chest against him. He leaned in right against his neck, “Tell me to stop and I will Reki,” his breath on his neck made him want to moan but he thought that might be embarrassing to be so worked up over barely even being touched.
Instead of saying anything, Reki found himself tilting his head to the side, allowing Langa better access to his neck. He felt a shutter against his back, and Langa slowly lowered his mouth onto his skin. Reki almost buckled when he felt soft kiss against his pulse point.
Reki had fantasied about Langa, more than he’d care to admit. He never expected for anything to actually happen, he was so sure that Langa would never be interested in him that way, that he never even let himself hope. After he felt Langa’s lips on his neck, though, his doubt started tearing at the seams and before he could stop it, a quiet whimper escaped his lips.
Langa made a noise that Reki had never heard before, but it sent heat straight down his spine. He felt an arm snake around his waist and crush him further into the toned chest behind him. He had never felt this turned on in his life and he couldn’t even blame the alcohol, he was barely tipsy by the time they had gotten back to the room. He was trying so hard to hold himself together before a raspy voice hit his ear again, “Do you like my lips on you Reki?” Dear lord, this guy was going to kill him. A moan almost escaped him while he nodded frantically, “No, use your words, tell me if you like my lips on you,” jesussss. Whatever the hell is possessing the usually indifferent and quiet Langa was about to give him a heart attack.
“Yes, I like your lips on me,” Reki didn’t even recognize his own voice.
“Do you want me to stop? Or are you still unsure about some things,” Langa sounded so calm, like always. Calm, but with an edge in his voice like he was holding back.
Reki knew that he shouldn’t ask for more. Langa was indulging him, he knew that. In that moment though, he didn’t want to leave the little bubble he found himself in. The one where Langa might want this as bad as he did. Reki wasn’t done pretending. Not with Langa panting against his neck, holding him tightly against him.
“I’m still,” his voice had become so breathy it was a miracle Langa could even hear him, “unsure, please.”
Langa let out an almost growl as he placed a harsh kiss on his neck again, and before he could recover from what that did to him, he was being spun around. Langa had spun him so that they were facing each other and backed him into the wall behind them. His hands gripped Reki’s hips, hard. While Reki’s hand moved up his chest to clasp together behind his neck. They looked at each other for a moment, both panting, so close that their lips brushed against each other lightly as Langa whispered so low Reki almost didn’t hear it, “So beautiful.”
Reki couldn’t take any more, he grabbed a handful of Langa’s hair and pulled his lips down on to his. It was a bruising kiss, filled with more heat than Reki ever dreamed was possible. He gasped when Langa put a hand under his chin to tilt his head back, slowing the kiss down as he stood at his full height instead of leaning down to him. He felt his tongue brush the seam of his lips and Reki naturally opened for him, letting his explore his mouth like it was only thing he wanted in his life. Reki moaned into the kissed, lightly squeezing harder on the blue hair his hand was wrapped in.
Langa broke away to speak roughly against his mouth, “Reki, you’re going to fucking kill me,” before Reki could ask any further questions he felt something grind against his stomach and he couldn’t help but whimper. Of course, Langa’s cock is that big, of course it freaking is. He went back to peppering kisses up and down Reki’s neck.
“Langa, god- I’m, I need- fuuuck,” he was shamelessly buckling his hips now, desperate for any type of relief, he was sure he’s never been this hard in his life.
“You want me to take care of that baby?” he could feel Langa’s smirk against his mouth.
“Please! Please, Langa, I need you to touch me more. Please,” he was sputtering over his words, begging. For what, he didn’t know but he was a mess and-
Something he had done had Langa freezing in place. He braced his hands against the wall on either side of Reki’s head as he pulled away to look down at him. Reki saw something flicker in his eyes before he pushed off the wall to stand in front of him. They were both panting, lips swollen, pupils blown out. Reki couldn’t really tell but something that looked like, panic was marring Langa’s features.
“Reki, I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize- I don’t know what came over me, I- I- I should go. I’m so sorry,” he was still muttering apologies as he all but ran out of their room. Leaving Reki to sink down the wall to the floor and wonder if he just lost his best friend.