It'd genuinely been a mistake the first time it had happened. Kisumi's phone was a mess of numbers. He seemed to collect them in the same way that other people collected stamps. The difference being that stamp collectors probably had a better idea about what went where than he did. Kisumi would argue that it wasn't his fault so many people had similar surnames, but all the same he would have rather that text had gone to almost anyone else in the world.
'hey im free 2nite n I know u r 2 soooo wanna meet up ;)'
The intended recipient was someone Kisumi had met a couple of times at his regular bar. They'd gotten talking and they both knew that nothing much would come of them sometimes hooking up, but anything more serious wasn't what either of them wanted anyway. Kisumi knew where he stood with casual people like that.
He didn't know where he stood with the reply he got, which left him staring down at his phone for several seconds before his mistake dawned on him.
'Kisumi?? I am free tonight, but I'm still in Tokyo. Are you visiting?'
As soon as Kisumi knew there was no way the person he'd been trying to text was in Tokyo his eyes darted up to the name at the top of the screen. Then he groaned to himself. Tachibana Makoto. Someone he'd rather not be sending any texts with less-than-subtle meanings to. But at least it wasn't impossible to salvage, so he tapped in the age old reply.
'sorry wrong number'
Then he stared at the screen of his phone until Makoto got back to him a few moments later.
'I thought so. But if you're ever in Tokyo then just let me know.'
All was right in the world after that. Kisumi was able to put the incident out of his mind and text the person he'd been supposed to send that original text to without much fuss. Though he did still feel a twinge of embarrassment about what had happened.
The second time he'd messaged Makoto instead of that other person it had mostly been a mistake, but he was a little drunk so it was hard to be sure.
'last nite was g8 ^.~ xx'
Makoto was quicker on the draw that time, both with texting back and realising what had happened.
'I think you've got the wrong number again.'
A giddy chuckle came from Kisumi. He wasn't sure why he was so amused by giving Makoto a peek into his private life, but at least for now it seemed to be entertaining.
There was no reply to that one, but Kisumi didn't pay it much mind before he went back to what he'd be doing. What he did forget to do was message the person he'd been meaning to send that to. Assuming that he had indeed meant to message them instead of Makoto, since he wasn't sure. Regardless, they were doomed to never know what Kisumi thought about last night, but when he later realised his mistake Kisumi decided that they'd probably live just fine without that knowledge.
The third time it happened had been entirely on purpose and Kisumi was very drunk indeed.
'i miss u :( i think about u a lot n wanna talk more xxx'
It took only a few seconds for the reply to turn up. Which if Kisumi had been in a better frame of mind would have had him questioning exactly how late Makoto stayed up at nights. Weren't university students supposed to be early-to-bed-early-to-rise sort of people? Or was Makoto a master of cram studying?
But it was hard to focus on anything like that when what he heard back from Makoto seemed so unavoidably sharp.
'You should probably clean up the numbers in your phone.'
Which sounded a lot like Makoto didn't want to hear from him any more. A weight that felt like lead settled into Kisumi's stomach, but thankfully before he could make a reply that he would definitely regret later, he was distracted by someone else who wanted to talk to him. The phone was pocketed and forgotten about for the rest of the evening.
...But not forgotten about the next morning, when Kisumi lay on his sofa staring at Makoto's message on the screen once again. He could have just left it at that, not poking the hornet's nest any further than was needed. That wasn't the Kisumi way though. He took a deep breath and sent another message.
'but i dont want 2 delete ur number :(('
Only this time Makoto wasn't as quick on the draw with replying. It was almost two hours later before Kisumi heard back from him. At that point he'd given up hope, but as soon as his phone vibrated he grabbed it off the floor where he'd abandoned it.
'I didn't mean it like that. I meant maybe you should change some names around so you don't keep texting people by mistake.'
It was a relief to read that. Kisumi didn't think he could live with himself if he thought that Makoto was angry with him.
'yes ill do that lol but i wud like 2 cya sometime if ur eva in town'
That part had been the truth. Well, the whole text had been the truth to start with, but it was somehow now less embarrassing if Makoto thought that Kisumi had sent it to him by mistake. And it seemed as if whatever half-formed plan Kisumi had in mind paid off when Makoto replied once again.
'Okay, I'll let you know next time I'm in Iwatobi.'
All was right in the world again.
It turned out to be months later before Makoto made good on that promise. Long enough that Kisumi had put the whole series of texts out of his mind. So when he reached for his phone one morning it surprised him to see Makoto's name at the top of the screen.
'Hey, I'm back for the week if you want to meet up. Would've stayed longer, but we're flying over to visit Rin after that. Maybe we can plan something more for the next holiday if you like.'
Kisumi knew that even if he had been busy that week, he'd make time for Makoto. The two of them hadn't seen each other since that festival in Samezuka and even then they hadn't had much time to talk.
'im free 2morrow :)'
He didn't want to seem too eager in his reply, so he got up to make some breakfast after that. But by the time he'd got back to his phone there was another message waiting for him.
'Cool! How about we meet up at the train station at 10am?'
And just like that, Kisumi had plans with Makoto.
He'd been surprised when he got off the train from Sano the next day to find only Makoto waiting for him. Admittedly Makoto's message hadn't mentioned anyone else, but he at least expected Haru to be tagging along with him. To see Makoto on his own was unusual, though definitely not something Kisumi minded.
“Hey Makoto. Just you and me today?” he asked, as they walked over to each other.
Makoto smiled; “Yeah. Rei, Nagisa and Gou already had plans and Haru... well, he...”
“...Didn't want to come?” Kisumi teased.
“Ah, it's not that he doesn't like you!” Makoto quickly tried to explain. He was adorable when he was flustered.
But Kisumi just laughed it off; “It's fine, I know that I've never been Haru's favourite person. Besides, it'll be nice to spend some time with just the two of us. I feel like we don't get many chances to talk.”
“I guess we both run in different circles these days. But I do agree that it's nice to get some time like this,” Makoto replied, “Why don't we head to a café? I missed breakfast, so it'd be great if we could get something to eat while we catch up.”
“Sounds good to me,” said Kisumi.
Makoto knew of a nice place not too far from the station, so they made their way there and found a table by the window where they could enjoy the view outside without being exposed to the slight autumn chill. Kisumi wasn't too hungry, so he'd just ordered a tea, but Makoto hadn't been lying about missing breakfast, as what arrived for him was an ominous-looking green curry that Kisumi wouldn't personally have dubbed as breakfast food, a large hot chocolate with whipped cream & marshmallows and finally a matcha parfait to follow. When Makoto saw Kisumi looking down at the plates in front of him he laughed.
“I've got to keep up my strength somehow,” he said.
“I see. So I take it you're still swimming in university then?” Kisumi asked, as he poured some milk into his tea.
“Yes and no,” replied Makoto, “I still swim a lot, especially with Haru, but I'm actually studying for a teaching degree, so it's a bit different these days. When I'm done I hope to be able to coach professionally.”
“That's great! You did such a good job teaching Hayato. He still talks about you all the time,” Kisumi said.
“I'm glad to hear that,” said Makoto, between a mouthful of curry, “Actually, I should probably be thanking the both of you. If I hadn't volunteered to help Coach Sasabe and ended up teaching Hayato's class then I probably wouldn't have realised that was what I wanted to do with my life.”
“Glad we could help! Though I'm sure even if things had worked out differently that you would have found your true calling in the end. It's you after all,” Kisumi chimed.
“That's what everyone says...” Makoto mumbled.
“What do you mean by that?” asked Kisumi.
“Ah, nothing. It's fine.” With that, Makoto took a gulp of his hot chocolate and then glanced out of the window.
“You wouldn't have brought it up if it was nothing,” argued Kisumi, “Are you... worried about what people think of you?”
Makoto hesitated for a moment. Then he looked back at Kisumi and admitted, “...Kind of, yes. Everyone seems to have such high expectations from me, especially my family. I know they don't mean any harm by it and they've been nothing but supportive... Even so, I worry about what they'll think of me if I don't succeed. And I feel like if I brought it up with most people they'd just go, 'You'll do fine because it's you, Makoto'. That doesn't really help at all...”
“I'm sorry,” Kisumi replied, “If I'd known you felt that way then I wouldn't have said it.”
“It's fine. How were you supposed to know?” Makoto said, with an awkward chuckle, “I'm sorry for dumping all of this on you so suddenly.”
Kisumi shook his head; “Don't be. I'm happy to listen.”
“Thanks, Kisumi. The only other person I've been able to talk about this to is Haru. And while he understands me, he's... well, you know Haru – he's not much of a talker. He's supportive in his own way, but sometimes it is nice to talk about these things with someone who isn't in the same university as me, you know?” Makoto said.
“It's just a shame that the two of us can't meet more often to talk,” said Kisumi, “It's not good to bottle things up.”
“Well, if you're ever in Tokyo then I'll be more than happy to hang out with you,” Makoto assured him. He went back to his curry after that, not taking long to finish it before he moved onto the parfait.
And that was when Kisumi silently decided that he was going to go to Tokyo at least once. He wanted to see Makoto more.
A few more months had gone by before that plan came to fruition though. Christmas and New Year both came and went. Kisumi had opted against travelling during those times because it was too busy and would probably be difficult to work out. Though he had at least seen Makoto when he'd come home for both of those events. At some point seeing Makoto at least once a holiday had become important. Sometimes he even saw him twice if he was lucky.
The trip to Tokyo took an unexpected step forward when Kisumi had visited Sousuke's parent's shop one day to pick up some groceries. He'd gotten talking to Sousuke there and it turned out that Sousuke himself was making a visit there to check on Haru and Makoto, under Rin's orders. Upon hearing that, Kisumi all but invited himself along, saying that he'd be able to keep Sousuke company on the train.
When that day came and the two of them arrived in Tokyo, Makoto and Haru were both waiting for them as they arrived at the station. The way Makoto smiled cheerfully at him made Kisumi's stomach do a dance that he'd rather it didn't. But he tried to control the butterflies and smiled back. It wouldn't be good for Kisumi of all people to start getting odd feelings around Makoto.
The four of them talked together as they made their way to the apartment Makoto and Haru were staying in. Though for the most part it was Kisumi and Makoto who did the talking, while the other two listened in companionable silence. Being like this felt good, Kisumi decided. And as he convinced himself of this, those stray emotions managed to settle themselves down.
It was easy to pass the time between all of them, even if Makoto or Haru had to disappear for lessons sometimes. Part of Kisumi had been worried how Haru might react to him, but it turned out that those concerns were for nought, as Haru seemed to take to Kisumi much better now than he had the last couple of times Kisumi had seen him.
All the same, when Haru pulled him aside one day he couldn't help himself but be a little nervous.
“Makoto wants to talk to you,” Haru stated.
“He does...? Well, he can just talk to me whenever he wants. There's no problem with that,” assured Kisumi.
Haru frowned; “No, you don't get it. Makoto wants to talk to you, but he can't find the words.”
“It's not like you to say something like that. I thought you'd be... I don't know, annoyed maybe, if Makoto wanted to spend time just with me. You always used to get like that in middle school,” reminded Kisumi.
“That was a long time ago,” Haru dismissed, “I know Makoto better now. And I know... what he's feeling.”
“What do you mean...?” asked Kisumi. He found himself pressing forward slightly, even though he hadn't meant to.
“Do you of all people need me to tell you that?” Haru snorted.
“Maybe I'm not a mind-reader like you seem to think you are,” tutted Kisumi.
“I'm not giving you the answer. But I am heading out with Sousuke to meet Rin off the plane, so you can talk to Makoto then,” Haru said.
“Oh yeah, I forgot that Rin was getting here today,” hummed Kisumi.
“That's not what you should be focusing on,” Haru scolded.
With that, the conversation was over. Haru walked away without elaborating any further on what he'd said, leaving Kisumi to be confused by his cryptic words. Not that he was about to pass up a chance to hang out with just Makoto either way. Suddenly he realised exactly how much he'd like that and the thought distracted him up until he found Makoto sat in the living room, with his study books littered all around him.
“Hey, Makoto!” Kisumi called.
“Hm? Oh, hi Kisumi! I'm surprised you didn't go to the airport with the other two,” Makoto replied, looking up from a book. He was wearing his reading-glasses right now and they made him look even more unreasonably attractive than he did anyway... It wasn't fair.
“I didn't feel like it. We'll all see Rin when he gets back here anyway, so I didn't want to overcrowd him getting off the plane,” Kisumi replied. He hadn't spared the time to come up with a better excuse, but he felt that one worked well enough.
“Three's hardly a crowd,” Makoto laughed.
“Sometimes it is...” mumbled Kisumi.
“Kisumi...” Makoto said, “The last time I tried to avoid a topic that way with you was when you told me that I wouldn't bring something up if I didn't want to talk about it. So now I'm pushing that back on you. What do you mean by that?”
“You can be so harsh sometimes. Does anyone ever tell you that?” Kisumi sighed. When the only response he got from Makoto was a wicked chuckle, he went on, “Maybe I meant that I wanted some time with just... me and you... okay?”
“You do...?” whispered Makoto.
All traces of the giggling from before was suddenly gone. The void it left felt like too much to fill, but Kisumi knew that he had to try. He just wished that he also knew why talking about this with Makoto was somehow much harder than with any of the other people Kisumi has had these sort of feelings for in the past.
“Yes... I like the two of us...” Kisumi mumbled. It was all he could manage.
Makoto closed his book. Then he got up from the sofa and walked across to where Kisumi was standing. It took all of Kisumi's effort not to back away from him. Even when Makoto smiled he felt nervous. Maybe even more than he did before he was smiling.
“I like the two of us as well,” Makoto replied.
“You... do?” asked Kisumi. He instantly wished he could have said anything else that didn't sound so stupid.
Not that Makoto seemed to mind. He blushed a little and looked away, before he said, “Y-yes... Well, maybe it seems a little strange, but I've been thinking about you since we met up that time. Um, before that, actually. When you text me those times by mistake... it made me think about the words you used. I thought 'Kisumi would never talk to me that way' and then I realised that I was... sad that you wouldn't.”
“Really...?” Kisumi gaped, “And here was me worrying that you'd think I was too vulgar for you.”
“Not at all,” assured Makoto. As he said that, he looked back at Kisumi and there was a glint in his eyes that Kisumi hadn't seen there before. It was equal parts unnerving and intriguing.
“Then maybe we could... I don't know, try... dating? If you like me and I like you,” said Kisumi, rushing on before his courage could give up on him.
“...I'd like that,” Makoto agreed, “Though... well, I've never dated before. So you'll have to keep me right.”
Kisumi smirked; “Don't worry, I've never dated either. We can learn together.”
“What, you? But I thought you did this sort of thing all the time,” Makoto admitted.
“Nah, I... well, I hook up a lot. But I've never actually dated before. Hah... if you didn't think I was terrible before than I bet you do now,” Kisumi confessed. He tried to laugh it off, but the noise that came out of his mouth felt strange and desperate.
“Not at all. I actually feel honoured that you'd want to try it out with me before anyone else,” said Makoto.
“You're more special to me than anyone else though. You deserve for me to try harder,” Kisumi assured. Then he caught what he'd just said and could have kicked himself, “Ack, dammit... I forgot for a moment that you don't like people to call you special! Look, I'm not trying to put you on a pedestal or anything. It's just-”
He was silenced by Makoto raising a hand to cover his lips. The contact was so unexpected that it sent a shiver down Kisumi's spine.
“You didn't say I was special, you said I was special to you. There's a difference,” Makoto soothed, “And I like being special to Kisumi.”
“That's good, because I can't imagine you ever not being,” admitted Kisumi.
“Such a charmer,” Makoto teased.
He moved his fingers away from Kisumi's lips. And before Kisumi even had a shot at a comeback, Makoto pressed in to kiss him. It was electric, but also more comforting than any kiss that Kisumi had ever had before. As if he was somehow having a rave party, but also a cosy night in by the fire all at the same time. When they pulled back, Kisumi felt dazed. It took him a moment to come back to reality. And since Makoto was already waiting there for him expectantly, he knew he had to step up his game.
“...I know you are, but do try to tone it back for my sensitive ears,” he joked.
Makoto pretended to think about that, before he answered, “I'll see what I can do. But not promises.”
It was one promise that Kisumi hoped he wouldn't keep.
At the airport, Haru and Sousuke both stood by the terminal exit, waiting for Rin's flight to arrive. It had been slightly delayed, which they both knew would result in an unhappy Rin.
“He's going to want to go straight to the apartment when he gets in,” Sousuke pointed out.
“No. He can wait,” said Haru.
“Why are you so insistent on that?” Sousuke sighed.
“It's for Makoto and Kisumi,” Haru informed.
There was a long silence, then Sousuke replied, “In that case, we'll go get lunch or something. Wouldn't want Rin to walk in on anything he doesn't need to see.”
Haru was glad that they were in agreement.