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“I thought you might be interested in a club outing.”

Mayuzumi looks down at the pamphlet in his hands, then up at Akashi, then down again. He thinks about all the possible excuses he could make–I have exams coming up or I need to go home that weekend or simply When have I ever insinuated I wanted to hang out with you? but the truth of the matter is that Akashi has probably already predicted whatever it is he’s about to say and planned accordingly.

So instead he deadpans, “Disneyland.”

“Yes.” Akashi stares at him as a cat might stare at a bird. A newborn, tiny baby bird screaming for help. Mayuzumi will not scream, or at least that’s what he tells himself. “Your performance has been satisfactory, and it is nearing the end of the semester. It is routine for such a trip to happen at Rakuzan, is it not? Team bonding.”

“Yeah, but.” Mayuzumi swallows. He wants to point out that he is, strictly speaking, not on the team anymore. But he has a feeling Akashi doesn't give a shit. “I’ve never gone on them before. And not during finals. Tokyo’s kind of far, don’t you think? Why not somewhere closer?”

It is then Mibuchi very helpfully pipes up, “Well, we kind of lost Hayama last year at Fushimi Inari.”

“We spent two hours looking for him,” grumbles Nebuya. “When we could’ve used that time to eat. At least there’s a PA system in Disneyland.”

“…Universal Studios?”

“I want to go to Disneyland,” Akashi says placidly, and the gleam in his eye tells Mayuzumi that’s the end of the story.

 

 

It is, as Mayuzumi had predicted, ridiculously crowded. The upside of it all is that Akashi’s family has connections (he wouldn’t say much more than a vague mention, and to Mayuzumi that definitely reeks of yakuza) that propel them to the front of most lines. The downside is only the five of them are able to come, giving him even less of a chance to run off. The other downside, well.

“You’re scared of roller coasters, Mayuzumi-senpai?”

“I am not,” Mayuzumi declares, as his hands shake traitorously on the handrail. Hayama nods in a wholly unconvinced way before switching to annoy Mibuchi instead. They are at the front of the line for Thunder Mountain, waiting for the cleanup crew to finish checking the car. Someone is crying. 

He stares at the seats and twitches.

Nebuya had opted out of this ride (they didn’t accuse him of being scared, Mayuzumi thinks bitterly) for some specialty restaurant he’d spotted nearby. And so, before he could misdirection himself away from the line, he finds himself being half-pushed towards the empty seats in the back. Mibuchi slides into one of the middle seats as Hayama follows him, gesturing animatedly at the lights above.

Akashi sits down next to Mayuzumi, looking all too happy to be in a moving death contraption.

…Of course he would get the seat next to Akashi.

“Make sure the harness is on tight enough,” Akashi leans over to say as the operator starts announcing instructions. “People have died on this ride before, you know.”

Mayuzumi wills his mouth to form the shape of Fuck off, Akashi, but he feels the harness click before any of the words leave, bringing him back from the edge. As much as he wants to mouth Akashi off, there are probably better places to do it that aren't a roller coaster. A roller coaster that Akashi definitely could and would push him out of. “Don’t you think you should’ve, oh, told me that before getting on this ride?”

Akashi simply starts inspecting his own side of the harness, and Mayuzumi swears he could see the tiniest trace of an evil, evil smile on his face. “Perhaps you should’ve told me you were afraid of roller coasters before agreeing to come, Mayuzumi-san.”

Their cars start moving, and all Mayuzumi can do is stare at him and silently curse Akashi Seijuurou’s very existence, both of them. At least, if he simply focuses on Akashi instead of the ride, maybe it wouldn’t be–

 

 

“That,” Hayama says in awe as Mayuzumi comes out of the restroom, “was some scream I heard back there.”

“Shut up, Hayama.”

Mibuchi sighs, grabbing the back of Hayama’s shirt before he can do anything drastic. “Stop being children, you two. It’s a good thing Sei-chan brought an extra shirt.”

The extra shirt in question had totally been in Mayuzumi’s size, and that fact does not sit well with him as they walk back to where Akashi and Nebuya are waiting. “I’m not going on another ride.”

Akashi quirks an eyebrow at him. “I suppose I cannot stop you from wandering off. But it would be good to know where you’re going so we can meet up again later.”

“Right,” Mayuzumi says, still looking at the shirt on him. There is an apple on it; it does not look like a shirt Akashi himself would wear. It is then he remembers he has no idea what to do here, all things considered. He wishes he’d had the sense to bring a light novel from the hotel, but the thought of having to get all the way back there… “Whatever, I’ll manage.”

Nebuya’s stomach makes a loud noise.

Akashi sighs as Mibuchi shoots a disparaging didn’t you just eat? look at his teammate. “Or perhaps we should have lunch first. Will you come, Mayuzumi-san?”

Mayuzumi thinks about how much money he has on him, and how much he could afford to spend on a ticket back to Kyoto as soon as he could bolt. Then he thinks about his now-empty stomach. “Alright. Just lunch, you hear?”

 

 

As it turns out, Akashi had already made reservations at the Diamond Horseshoe.

Mayuzumi takes one look at the menu and blanches. Rich kids, he sighs, gingerly flipping the menu back towards the center of the table. He could deal with no food – in the case that they dragged him into another ride again. 

But obviously Akashi is not going to let him have that. “You should get something to eat, Mayuzumi-san.”

You’re not my mom, Mayuzumi wants to say, but he bites that down hastily at the last moment at the slight narrowing of Akashi’s eyes. Surely he couldn’t really read minds, but then again, Mayuzumi had seen what went down during the Winter Cup. He decides to focus on the cup of water before him.

When their food arrives, everything on their plates looks disgustingly cute. He watches Nebuya tear off one of riceball Mickey’s ears so ferociously Mibuchi lets out a little gasp, and on the other side of him Hayama is busy juggling potato wedges, a sight that is earning him oohs and aahs from a nearby table full of middle-school girls.This is a fucking circus, he groans internally as he shoves lettuce into his mouth. “Why.”

“Why what?”

“Nothing, Akashi.” Of course his ex-captain has table manners that are more than impeccable, though the alarming pace of edibles disappearing from his plate speaks volumes about how hungry he is. It’s almost fascinating to see Akashi like this, twirling around a star-shaped hash brown before putting it in his mouth. Rarely does Mayuzumi sit with his team at lunch, and that makes the scene all the more interesting. Then Akashi meets his eyes, and Mayuzumi realizes he’s been staring at the redhead’s lips for way, way too long. “I, uh.”

“Please don’t choke on your food, Mayuzumi-san,” he says pleasantly, as Mayuzumi does just that.

 

 

“Teacups?” Mibuchi asks.

“Teacups,” Akashi agrees.

It is at this point Mayuzumi replaces ‘slamming head on nearest brick wall’ for ‘annoyed sighing and internal bitching’ in his repertoire of physical reactions and lets himself be dragged towards the frilly pastel-colored ride.

 

 

In the end, he doesn’t manage to get away at all.

“I think that'll fit all of us,” Nebuya says, pointing at one spot of the plaza where it hasn’t completely filled up with people yet. The fireworks are apt to start at any moment, and no Disney trip is complete without watching them – or so Mibuchi had said, and Akashi had been absolutely adamant about them staying. Hayama bounds over in the general direction, the Mickey ears on his head bobbing comically as he does so.

Mayuzumi would laugh if not for the fact that their entire team is sporting replicas of the exact same pair.

“Did you have fun today, Mayuzumi-san?”

“Huh? Oh.” He reaches up and adjusts one of his ears, too resigned to take them off now that Akashi is watching. Maybe the exhaustion is getting to him. “I’m never going on a roller coaster again, thanks to you.”

“I’d have to thank you for at least waiting until we got off the ride,” Akashi replies smoothly. His Mickey ears are perfectly aligned.

“You’re unbelievable.” Mayuzumi rolls his eyes and finds himself squished towards the back of the crowd, though he’s marginally taller than most of the people standing in front of him. Enough to see the fireworks, at least. “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. If you want a real answer.”

“I suppose we would’ve spent an extra hour searching if you hadn’t been around.”

“Is that all the thanks I get?” Hayama had predictably gotten lost in Fantasyland, and Mayuzumi had decided that was the best moment to slip away while everyone else was distracted looking for staff members. Unfortunately he had been hauled into the Haunted Mansion by some jackass director confusing him for one of the actors, and it was in there where the blond turned out to be. “Shit, I bet you could’ve heard him scream from outside.”

The smile on Akashi’s face is softer than he’d expected, and it makes Mayuzumi want to squirm even amidst relishing his payback on Hayama. “I’m sure of that.”

“It’s starting,” Mibuchi whispers urgently at them as the castle starts lighting up before their eyes, the first burst of color overhead illuminating all of them for a few brief seconds. Then another, and another. The music starts and stops, weaving through the lights and reverie on everyone’s faces, and of course–as reluctant as he is to admit it, Mayuzumi feels entranced.

“I haven’t been here since I was eight,” he mutters, mostly to himself. Someone’s hand touches against his, and he glances to his side to see Akashi staring with intensity at the colors in the sky. The rest of their team are busy taking pictures or talking, but Akashi’s lips are, surprisingly, moving along to the lyrics. “I didn’t peg you as being so into Disney.”

There is a definite moment when Akashi shuts his mouth tight before looking back up at Mayuzumi, his eyes unreadable. He shrugs. “I came here often, when I was younger.”

“So you've dragged us along to relive your childhood.” Then, because Akashi seems taken aback and triumphant all at the same time, he ventures boldly, “It’s a little cold even with all of these people around, isn’t it?”

“What are you suggesting, Mayuzumi-san?”

“I-I meant your hands are too cold, you should,” Mayuzumi blinks, mentally smacking himself. This is not how he’d envisioned his words sounding like at all. “Uh, take them away. You’re touching me.”

“Actually I believe you are stating the contrary, Mayuzumi-san,” Akashi says lightly, moving closer. One of his Mickey ears tickle at Mayuzumi’s nose, and, shit–he’s got to be doing this on purpose. “Aren’t you?”

“Shut up, Akashi.”

Mayuzumi takes his hand anyway, and its warmth seems to laugh in his face even as the fireworks end and the crowds start to disperse.