Kindaichi is crying.
“I--” he lets out a huge sob, “I just. They were so! They,” he hiccups, “loved each other so-ho-ho muhuhuhuch.”
“Mmhmm,” Kunimi says very seriously.
“And then,” Kindaichi fumbles for a tissue from the box Watari is holding out. He blows his nose emphatically. “He left her. Why would he do that? Why?!”
“So what’s the matter,” Watari whispers to Kunimi. “Can you understand what he’s saying?”
When Kindaichi cries he goes full-throttle. Not much of his speech is understandable, but Kunimi has had several years of experience by now, thanks to Kindaichi’s passion for television dramas.
“Oh, yes,” Kunimi says. “Kindaichi says that he thinks Oikawa-san is ugly,” he lies.
An intake of breaths all around. Yahaba has a hand pressed to his chest and an offended look on his face. Kindaichi keeps on blubbering, oblivious.
“No,” Watari says, leaning forward and staring at Kindaichi curiously. “Not really?”
“It’s true,” Kunimi says. He cocks his head to the side, hearing things no one else can in Kindaichi’s crying. “He also likes Iwaizumi-san’s arms. He thinks a hug from Iwaizumi-san would be very reassuring.”
“Yeah,” Kyoutani agrees. “But I wouldn’t cry about it.” He stares at the wall, a faint blush on his cheeks. “I really wouldn’t,” he mutters.
“Kindaichi is a very sensitive young man,” Kunimi says. “I’m sure we’ve all been moved, emotionally, by our upperclassmen’s looks.”
Yahaba’s and Watari’s eyes glaze over. Kyoutani’s still scowling furiously at the wall.
“Uh,” Yahaba says, finally. He coughs. “Never mind that. Make sure he’s okay and then come to practice, alright?”
Kunimi nods and watches the second-years leave, Watari laughing and giving both Yahaba and Kyoutani aggressive nudges.
“Anything else?” Kunimi asks, patting Kindaichi on the back.
Kindaichi wails. “And then her twin sister bought a butcher’s knife! And we all know what happens when that happens!”
“Do we,” Kunimi murmurs. “You just let it all out now,” he says, while he casts his eye around for a good napping spot. “It’s no good holding all those feelings in.”
At practice both Coach and Oikawa give them extra laps to run because they come in late. Kunimi thinks it’s worth it. Kindaichi’s face is still a little red and his eyelids are a little swollen, and Kunimi is a little embarrassed by how dumb it makes him look. Good, Kunimi thinks. Why is it good? Kunimi does not examine that thought.
Practice is the usual pull-and-push of trying to find shortcuts in the drills and getting caught by the upperclassmen.
“Where’s that sleepy face going?” Oikawa asks as Kunimi’s giving the mats longing and loving looks.
“Um,” Kunimi says.
Oikawa smiles. “Say, Kunimi-kun, I heard something a little funny earlier,” he says. “Something something about Kindaichi-kun crying over… something?”
“Hm,” Kunimi says. “I can’t imagine who would have told you something so vague.”
“Is that so,” Oikawa says, very softly.
“You, uh, appreciate clarity, Oikawa-san,” Kunimi says.
“I think I’ll have a talk with Kindaichi-kun later,” Oikawa says. “You won’t mind, will you?”
Kunimi shakes his head. “Of course not,” he says, and does all his drills with the strictest adherence to form for the rest of practice.
Kunimi keeps close to Kindaichi after practice, and they’re nearly out the school and headed home when Oikawa waves them down.
“Yoohoo,” Oikawa calls out.
Kunimi freezes. Kindaichi turns to look. Oikawa jogs up to them, Iwaizumi, Matsukawa, and Hanamaki following close behind.
“Kindaichi-kun,” Oikawa says, in his sweetest voice. “I heard you were crying earlier! I hope you’re feeling better now.”
“Ahaha,” Kindaichi laughs nervously. “It’s just the dramas I like watching,” he says, looking at the ground with his eyes bugging out. “I was telling Kunimi about what happened last episode, and I got carried away, and then we were late to practice because of it. I’m sorry!”
“Whaaat,” Hanamaki says, grinning. “Which drama is it, I need something new to watch.”
Matsukawa snickers. “This time Iwaizumi will join us, huh? You can’t run away from a good story for long!”
Iwaizumi ignores them both.
“You can discuss your hobbies later,” Oikawa says. He leans forward and pinches Kindaichi’s cheek, “you know it’s not what’s on the outside that matters, but what’s on the inside, isn’t that right, Kindaichi-kun?”
“Yes, Oikawa-san,” Kindaichi manages to say while Oikawa wiggles his cheek.
“I’m glad we had this talk,” Oikawa says, now pulling on Kindaichi’s other cheek and making his mouth into funny shapes. Kunimi watches in fascination, and nearly startles when Oikawa turns to smile at him. “Maybe next time you’ll be a little more careful with your words.”
“I don’t think I understand,” Kindaichi says. Or, at least, that’s what Kunimi interprets. “But okay. You know best.”
“Oikawa,” Iwaizumi says. “Please. You’re giving these two some terrible ideas.”
Kunimi turns to see that Hanamaki and Matsukawa are pinching each others’ faces.
“My friends are so strange,” Oikawa says, letting go of Kindaichi’s face. “Okay, that’s all! Don’t worry, I’m sure Iwa-chan will hug you one day.”
Kindaichi stares at the third-years with his mouth open as they leave. “That was weird,” he says eventually, rubbing his cheeks. “But kinda cool too. Oikawa-san knows so much, don’t you think? He really understands, like, stuff, I think.” He nods to himself.
Kunimi wants to lie down.
Kunimi spends a week thinking about the events that transpired. He comes to the conclusion that he likes Kindaichi, and also kind of likes it when he cries. If that means Kunimi is creepy, then he supposes it can’t be helped.
Of course, a week passing means that a new episode has been released. Kindaichi’s recounting it after practice this time, and he’s doing fine emotionally until he gets to the sub-plot involving the mother-in-law.
“She took out a loan for a hit-man,” Kindaichi cries, “because she cares about her family so much.” He rubs at his face with the palms of his hands.
“That’s dedication,” Kunimi says.
Kindaichi turns his sad tear-filled eyes on him. Kunimi clears his throat.
“Thanks for listening,” Kindaichi says. “It’s probably kind of annoying.”
“Nope!” Kunimi says, a bit too quickly. “I mean, it’s fine. I’m okay! I’m healthy!”
Kindaichi frowns. “Okay.”
Unfortunately for Kunimi, the rest of the stragglers on the team come out of the clubroom just then. A hand descends onto Kunimi’s shoulder.
“What’s this,” he hears Oikawa say. “Are you making Kindaichi-kun cry, Kunimi?”
“No,” Kunimi says, standing very still. “Kindaichi’s telling me about his favourite drama.”
“Hmm?” Oikawa says. “And you’re not doing any misinterpretations, are you?”
“I, uh, I--”
Kindaichi gives a big sniff.
“Wow,” Oikawa says. “Seeing Kindaichi-kun cry, it really makes your heart beat a little faster, doesn’t it!”
Kunimi turns around, horrified, to see Oikawa giving him an innocent look.
“Look at that face,” Oikawa says. “I have to go now! Don’t be troublesome, Kunimi-kun!” And with that, he runs off to join Iwaizumi up ahead.
“Oikawa-san really does understand stuff,” Kunimi says. Kindaichi nods. “Anyway,” Kunimi sighs. “Tell me more about the mother-in-law.”