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One of his favorite things was the weird never-been-washed-before new clothes smell. Honestly, Yamada could probably just spend hours browsing through stores, breathing in that wonderful scent of colored dye on fabric. In fact, he would spend hours in the store if he was all alone shopping. But he had Takaki accompanying him today, and he was on a mission.

“Try on these pants,” Yamada commanded as he dumped a few pairs into Takaki’s unsuspecting arms. Takaki, who had been playing with the fringe on a hideous sweater on a nearby rack for a solid five minutes, looked startled at the sudden task.

“But I thought we were buying clothes for your sister,” Takaki said, peering down at him with a look of confusion.

“I lied.” Yamada shrugged automatically, but then pauses as Takaki’s words really sank in. “Wait, did you honestly believe that? Because we’re in a men’s store.”

Takaki raised his eyebrows. “Are you sure?” he said, pointing to the ugly fringe-covered sweater. “Because I don’t know any guy who’d wear that. Except for Inoo. After he’d lost a bet. And downed a whole bottle of sake. Actually,” he chuckled, “that reminds me of this one time—”

“No distractions,” Yamada interrupted, grabbing his arm. “You’re trying on these pants.” He dragged his shopping companion to the dressing room. Takaki went along with no complaints. At least until Yamada followed him right into the tiny changing room stall. There wasn’t enough space for two people, Yamada realized as he pressed himself up against the wall so he could get the door shut.

“If you wanted to try one of these on,” Takaki said while he shuffled through his options, “there are other free stalls you could use.” He grimaced at a pair of jeans with rhinestones across the butt and handed that to Yamada instead.

“I came in here to watch you,” Yamada answered.

Takaki laughed as he removed his shoes. “Pervert.”

Yamada narrowed his eyes ever so slightly. He knew Takaki knew exactly what he’d actually meant, but he clarified anyway. “I’m just making sure you actually try the pants on instead of staring at your hair in the mirror for twenty minutes.”

“Well, I do think my roots are starting to show again,” Takaki tilted his head down slightly as he tried to see the reflection of the top of his hair.

“Just take off your pants,” Yamada demanded and then crossed his arms. His elbow banged against the stall door in the process.

Takaki laughed as he pulled out a pair of jeans to try on first. “I’m only messing with you,” he said. “I’ll try these on, but I don’t know why you think I need new clothes.”

Yamada rolled his eyes. “Perhaps because your current jeans are starting to resemble swiss cheese in every aspect but color,” he answered dryly. He noted that the first pair of jeans looked like they fit well. Takaki wiggled a bit to see how flexible the fabric was.

“Maybe,” Takaki began as he stripped that pair off in favor of the next one, “the holes in my jeans are a metaphor for the empty void in my soul that comes with the hollow price of fame.” He said that with the most serious face but after about two seconds, he couldn’t hold it anymore and burst out laughing at his own joke.

“Have you been listening to that emo band Keito recommended again?” Yamada asked.

The only answer was the sound of Takaki continuing to snicker quietly to himself, so Yamada assumed that meant yes. He nodded absentmindedly in approval of the next pair of pants, and then winced as the back of his head collided with the wall he was leaning against. “I can pick out some shirts to match, if you want,” he suggested. He was itching to get back out into the store and roam again, looking through mountains of fabric for diamonds hidden in the rough.

“You’re not gonna stop until you make me take off all my clothes, right?” Takaki teased. Now that he was done, he slid back into his original pants, the ones that were frayed around the edges and were developing holes around all the seams. “Chinen’s going to be so jealous you bought stuff for me and not for him.”

Yamada grinned. “We can always pick up that ugly fringe sweater for him.”

“I like that plan.” Takaki laughed as he carried his bundle of new pants out of the dressing room.

With a feeling of new accomplishment, Yamada scanned the room again, looking for the perfect outfit or accessory or anything else that stood out to him. He grinned as he immediately zeroed in on the perfect top, and Takaki half-laughed, half-sighed when he saw the look on Yamada’s face. But he ignored Takaki’s reaction. Shopping was his element, and he could do this all day.