Pairing: Yabu Kota/Yaotome Hikaru
Summary: The only open seat is with a boy with bleach blond hair streaked with pink that Yabu remembers vaguely dozing off during lecture several times. His hands drum a complicated beat on the table, making it difficult to hear their instructor describing their lab activity.
Notes: In my College AU series. I've actually been dying to write this story since I wrote "The story of tonight." I just haven't done it because I knew it would be a massive one, and I was right. Hope you guys enjoy it!
The floor is a mass of confusion, warm bodies running and jumping around storage containers crammed against the walls in an attempt to give people a little walking room. Screams and shouts echo from every corner, friends fisting bumping and hugging after spending a long break apart and meeting once again. The happiness that permeates the air breathes life into Yabu, even if the small walkway for his handcart only brings him frustration.
The doorways seem to inch by as he squishes his cart through piles of empty containers and boxes, trying to ignore the conversations as he passes. He wants to get to his room to settle down, and to meet his new roommate, if possible, to begin building new connections at this new university. Only a few more days until classes officially begin, and a whole new life starts.
Yabu’s first university hadn’t been a good fit. The classes a little too large, a little fast paced for his liking, and the department for his degree too small. He had been another body occupying a chair, another wide-eyed freshman to entertain to his professors who hardly could give him the time of day. His accomplishments were fruitless to their eyes, no matter the effort he forced into his work.
His free time was spent combing through websites, researching literature degree programs across Japan and applying for the schools that fit his strict criteria. The same mistake would not be made twice, that much Yabu was certain of. Everything would slowly fall into place until it all finally clicked: this was where he was supposed to be.
The worst were the friends he would leave behind. It was only a year, but he was leaving behind high school friends he had known since he was a first grader. Many a long night had been spent crammed into one of their dorm rooms, deciphering graduate level texts and drunkenly creating exaggerated situations of what it would be like if they were born in another century.
Half of him wondered how they would survive without him. He had always been their mother figure, leaving them cups of water and snacks when one person got a little too tipsy. He always carried medicine when the colder weather rolled in like a storm, sending the university into a fit of coughs and sneezes. He only hoped someone would step up and fill his role, or it would be a long battle without him there.
He knew his own change would be rough, but he’d take all of those moments in stride. Yabu only needed a few days to settle in and he knew he’d have friends in no time. Well, he hoped.His own dorm room was nestled at the end of the hallway, away from the loud screams of the other boys by the elevator. The silence was nice. Peaceful, even, and he could only hope that the silence would last through the entire year. If his emails from his professors were any indication of how the semester would go, it would be a long and hard battle for that final perfect grade.
The door was already unlocked with he tried it with his key, so he pushed his way into the room, dragging his cart full of his belongings behind him.“Hello?” he said, peaking in.
One half of the room was already claimed, brown boxes and suitcases stacked on top of each other in a neat and orderly fashion. The owner was nowhere to be seen, no matter how Yabu searched in every corner and behind every nook and cranny to find him.It wasn’t ideal, but he supposed it would do. Eventually the other male would return, and Yabu would be able to introduce himself at that moment. Even if they were living in a dorm room their second year, no one could avoid coming back to their designated room…right?
A loud thud against the door made Yabu jump.“Hey!” the other man said. He had somehow crashed against the doorframe and was slowly inching down it. “Question, have you seen our RA at all?”
“Sorry, I just got here, and I wouldn’t know who they were if I saw them.”“Damn.” He was on the floor sitting in the doorway. “Someone exploded a toilet and there’s blood everywhere in the bathroom.”
This…this guy couldn’t possibly be serious. How in the world could someone explode a toilet without the entire building shaking? Logically it didn’t make any sense.“It’ll make sense when you see it,” the other man sighed. “I’m Inoo by the way. Did you just get here?”
“I’m Yabu, and yeah. Not too long ago.” Yabu said. He started taking boxes off the cart and placing them on his bed. “What about you?"“I’ve been here for a week, and it was so boring without anyone here,” Inoo whined. “I thought joining the solar homestead team would be fun, but it’s lonely here at night.”
Yabu took a peak over and had to stifle his laughter. Inoo was lying across the floor, blocking anyone from walking into the room. One of his legs was kicked up on the doorframe as he was weaving his fingers into complicated knots.“At least you’ve got us now,” Yabu said, “and you were doing, uh, important solar homestead things.” He pushed his handcart into one of the corners. “What exactly is a solar homestead?”
“Wait,” he sat up in a flash. “Y-you actually want to know what that is?” He waited for Yabu to nod before he kept talking. “A solar homestead is a sustainable house, and our university is one of twenty around the world competing for fame and glory. We’ll be judged on ten criteria like innovation, electrical energy balance, and energy efficiency. I was on the architectural design team last semester, and we’re currently in the building phase. When we get done, we’re taking our house to France for the competition.”Inoo was a whirlwind when he talking, mouth and fingers flying as he described every moment. His eyes looked so bright as he talked, a smile tugging at his lips as he described the architectural details of the home and picked out those that had been used from his concept. It was hard to believe not moments before he had been seeking help for an explosion and had been lying across Yabu’s floor.
“Are you some sort of mad scientist? This sounds incredible,” Yabu said“Architect, but same thing,” Inoo shrugged. “Oh, I should bring back some of my designs to show you some time. I promise they’re really cool and make you loose your underwear.”
“I think you mean blow your socks off.”Inoo rolled his eyes. “Same thing.”
The next few days passed in a blur before Yabu’s eyes. Every day around lunchtime Inoo stopped by asking if he wants to get lunch before whisking him away to the far sides of campus for food in the cafeteria.
For as strange as he was, Inoo seemed to know many of the students they passed. Students stop them as they walk, chatting with him amicably before continuing on their way. Once Inoo stopped a few so he could run up to a shorter boy and hug him from behind, not letting go even after the other started kicking him in the shin.
“Yama-chan is so cute, right?” he laughs, rubbing his knee. “He shows his love in weird ways.”The intricacies of Inoo’s mind were difficult to decipher, no matter how much time Yabu spends with him. One minute his brain is slow as if he was watching molasses be poured from a jar, and the next moment something clicks within him, a fire being born, and Yabu can only sit back and watch as Inoo burns through an entire forest. It’s a thing of beauty, watching how Inoo’s mind connects the invisible dots between two events, and it’s something Yabu knows he can’t copy, no matter how hard he tries.
His roommate, on the other hand, is far from the intellectual genius Inoo possesses. Takaki is quiet, only talking when Yabu directly questions him about something, and looks as if he was one of the popular kids in high school. The type the heroine falls in love with because he’s cool, but has a soft and sensitive side.
Even before classes have started, Takaki’s nose is buried in his textbooks, highlighting the text and taking notes with a careful hand with each passing page. Several nights, when Yabu returned late from spending time with Inoo, Takaki was still up, his desk lamp focused on those delicate pages as he combed through the text.
“I can’t fail,” he muttered to himself on night. His pen scribbling louder than his words. “Need to prove myself. I can do this.”When Takaki was gone one morning, Yabu snuck a look at the garbled mess of Takaki’s notes. If his notes are anything like how his mind is processing the information, it will be a long year for him.
Still, Yabu finds him endearing. Takaki is a quiet presence that calms him down after a long day, much like a staring out at the ocean and contemplating where life takes you. When he smiles, it feels as if the entire room lights around him, and Yabu can’t help but smile as well. They don’t need words to communicate in those small moments.Those moments of calm crash in a moment his first class begins. Assignment after assignment piles onto his day-to-day planner until every night he is tied to his desk, going over old Japanese texts and picking out the small essential details that hint at the author’s overall motive for writing the piece. It’s challenging, but it’s why he picked literature as his major. The theoretical nature of picking apart novels thrilled him in ways no other study could.
With every class came one that did not excite him.Chemistry.
His science credits didn’t transfer when he completed the move to his new university. He had already sat through biology and barely passed, and physics was completely out of the question. Astronomy had seemed interesting, but every class had been booked solid. Chemistry was the only subject left that he remotely had an interest in.The class itself he could pass with no issue. He had a fairly good memory for memorizing theories and laws. The math would be a little difficult to reproduce for a test, but it wasn’t anything he couldn’t manage. A few extra hours studying before the exam would solve any problem he faced. The laboratory portion was far from something he looked forward to. Actually reproducing a scientific experiment and producing lab results of his findings was a mediocre task, as best.
Yabu had been lucky the lab portion started a few weeks into classes. Something about needing time to prepare supplies for the labs and needing to have a little material under their belt before attempting anything. He was grateful for that. It gave him a little time to focus on his literature classes, getting a little ahead in the readings, before the real work would begin.He gets lost the first day of lab. The twisting and turning hallways of the science building confuse him and no matter how many left and right turns he makes he ends up where he started. He passes the same reptile exhibit three times before he knocks on a professor’s door and asks for directions. It’s pure dumb luck he slides into the lab room before the graduate student leading it closes the door, signaling the start of class.
The only open seat is with a boy with bleach blond hair streaked with pink that Yabu remembers vaguely dozing off during lecture several times. His hands drum a complicated beat on the table, making it difficult to hear their instructor describing their lab activity.When the graduate student in done, the other boy is gone in a flash. Students cram themselves into the supply room to gather their needed ingredients and devices for their lab. Yabu’s partner returns last, his own findings far different than anything the other students return with.
“Hey, go and find soap,” he said. He already has his gloves on and is securing goggles to his face.“Uh, no?” Yabu said. He picked up one of the smaller containers, crystalized potassium iodide scrawled across the label in fine script. “This isn’t the lab we’re doing. The schedule says we’re doing density."
“Relax, I can do density in my sleep,” he laughed. “Let’s have a little fun. Go get the soap. It’s the only thing we’re missing,”Yabu frowns and puts the potassium iodide with the other chemicals. “I still say no.”
“Fine,” the other guy shrugs. “I’ll experiment without the soap then.”He doesn’t touch anything, just watches as the other male mixes the potassium iodide into water hoping, praying their instructor will notice one group is unlike the others. When he seems satisfied with how the chemical has dissolved into the water, he pours it into an Erlenmeyer flask before using another empty cup to measure out a heaping sum of what looks to be thirty-five percent hydrogen peroxide.
“Ready for this?”“I really don’t think this is a good idea-”
His words fall on deaf ears. Before he knows it the other boy is pouring his concoction together, jumping back from the table and the two combine together, shooting upwards and covering the table in burning liquid, smoke oozing from the top of the flask.“Cool. That was-”
“What the fuck did you do?”His lab notebook is soaked from the mystery concoction and his lab stool clattered to the floor when he stood in rush, trying to get away from the liquid seeping across the tables and onto the floor. He can barely breathe, barely move, a fire burning through his veins Yabu has never felt before. Nothing flows through his mind except for a single thought, circling over in an endless cycle, finding its way into his blood and through his heart.
“Well, if we had soap it would have chemically turned into-”“But we didn’t and you could have killed us.” The fire won’t stop. He can only feel it continue to build in his chest. “You’re an idiot."
There’s a drum in his ears, beating wilding as he grabs his backpack, leaving his ruined notebook where it lies. The door slamming shut behind him as he runs.
“Listen, you’re going to have fun tonight,” Inoo said, pulling him closer in their hug. “Yeah, school is stressful and all but you have to let loose and have a little fun tonight. You can’t just lock yourself in your room all weekend cause you had one bad day. Besides you might meet someone and fall in love.” He paused for a moment. “Or not meet someone. I dunno. I don’t run your life. Either way, you’re coming with us. No choice.”
“I already told you. I can’t afford another forty on a test.” Takaki tried to pry Inoo’s arms from off of his body. “Why are you so strong? Let me go.”“No one can defeat the strength of my love for you,” Inoo sighed. He only gripped onto Takaki tighter. “Say you’re coming with us, and I’ll let go.”
“This is ridiculous.” Takaki squirmed. “Let go of me."Yabu couldn’t help but crack a smile. The squabbling between the two was entertaining. It had been a better part of a half an hour since Inoo had initially invited them out. It was supposed to be a small thing, a little party one of his friends was throwing at their place off campus. It was a way to unwind with midterms just around the corner.
“Look,” Inoo exclaimed. He rubbed his head into Takaki’s neck, earning a nice squeal from Takaki. “Our son’s first smile. I’m so proud.”Yabu rolled his eyes. “I’m older than both of you.”
“Doesn’t mean I can’t be your father.” Inoo said. He stopped for a moment to look Takaki up and down. “Takaki, why aren’t you dressed yet? You’re still in pajamas.”“Because you haven’t let go of me,” Takaki huffed.
“So, you’re going then?” Yabu asked.Takaki looked both of them over before sighing. “I can’t win against the both of you. Fine, I’ll go. Just get the mushroom off of me."
Inoo’s definition of small was far different than Yabu’s own. There had to be seventy people crammed into this house as they squeezed their way through the hallways, trying to find the drinks or even an open area to breathe. The beat of the music was intoxicating the more they swam through it, the twirling and dancing bodies so close you couldn’t move an inch without scrapping by someone.They had a few beers together, downing the amber liquid before it thought about turning warm in their hand. Their words were often drowned out by the music, an ever reminder that they were free from their stress and worries from the day, if only for a moment.
In the blink of an eye, Inoo and Takaki were gone. He dragged the older boy through the crowds, shouting something about how he wanted Takaki to meet one of his friends.He weaved in and out of conversations he passed never staying too long. No one seemed to click, to lock into place to hold his attention. They were all nice people, ranging in variations of intoxication, but they weren’t what he was looking for.
Yabu wanted to meet someone who could make him laugh. Who could take this cloud above his head and turn it into something brighter and lighter. Being around friends had made him forget it, how angry he was, but those moments passed by too quickly without someone there. If he didn’t find someone then, it wouldn’t matter. It would all pass when he could finally wash his brain of the memories.A hand on his shoulder jolted him from his conversation with some dude named Daiki, who kept rambling about some food he had at a restaurant near campus.
“Didn’t expect to see you here,” his lab partner said. He gave Yabu a look over. “And definitely didn’t expect you to show up looking like you stepped out of an American college movie.”“What’s that supposed to mean?”
He dressed nicer per Inoo’s request then what he typically wore to school. It was a little stuffy, the collar of his button up too suffocating for him, but he didn’t look bad.“Relax, it’s a joke,” the guy said. “Only because you seriously do look like you stepped out of a-”
“I don’t think its funny.” The fire was burning right between his eyes, and he took a step closer to the other male. “You’re really starting to annoy me right now.”“Wait, let’s take a step back here,” the other guy said, putting his hands up. “I think we really got off on the wrong foot cause of that lab at the beginning of the semester, and I get it. I fucked up. Can we agree on that?”
It was a moment before Yabu responded with a nod of his head.“Good. Cool. We both agree,” the other guy said. “But you’re also a little hard to work with too. It’s hard to complete labs if your partner refuses to talk to you.”
“You also sleep during class, and I can’t accept-”“Yeah, yeah, I get that all the time, dad, don’t worry about me though,” the guy continued. “I only do it because I’ve learned all of this material before. It’s easy to me. I can show you my test grades as proof if you need them.”
“Wait, no, what are you talking about? I’m not your dad,” Yabu said.“You might as well be the way you’re talking,” he said, sticking out his tongue for just a moment. “I know its just because deep down in your little heart you care about me.” He patted Yabu on the shoulder. “I’m Yaotome by the way, but most people call me Hikaru."
“I’m Yabu,” he said. “Nice to meet you, I guess.”He couldn’t remember where his anger had gone. In a moment it was as if everything he had previously been feeling was extinguished, as if Hikaru was playing him like a puppet. Every emotion was under Hikaru’s control and, oddly, he didn’t mind. There was something about Hikaru that pulled him in deeper, and he wanted to investigate these feelings further.
“Let me mix you a drink,” Hikaru said. He grabbed Yabu’s hand, lacing their fingers together and pulling him towards the kitchen. “We’ll toast to our new found friendship. Wait, do you like tequila?”The house’s owner could have only been a master bartender. Their liquor selection was superb. Most of the brands Yabu had never heard of, preferring to not break the bank with his alcohol and choosing the bottom shelf over those on top. Hikaru chose a bottle of Avion, pouring it over ice and orange juice before searching for grenadine in the cabinets.
While he worked, he told stories as his fingers picked out each components for their drinks. Each word slid around Yabu, wrapping him in its warm embrace. His words were beautiful, each holding some sort of meaning and not thrown together in pile like so many people Yabu came across. His stories, not matter how silly, were gripping and leaving Yabu wanting more.“Cheers,” Yabu raised his cup and Hikaru clinked his against it.
It burned going down, just as any alcohol did, but the flavors warmed his heart and loosed his mind. Whatever Hikaru had done, it tasted like spiced orange juice the more he drank, downing it far quicker then he was supposed to.“Damn,” Hikaru laughed. “If I knew you’d drink it that quick I would have made a pitcher.”
“You can always make more,” Yabu said, leaning against the counter. “You do owe me for being such an ass.”“Come on. I can’t have your girlfriend be pissed at me cause I got you wasted,” Hikaru hummed. He left his drink aside to start working on a second round for them. “Cause she’s the one that picked out your clothes, right? Cause I’ve never seen you dress so nice for class.”
“I don’t have a girlfriend.”Hikaru stopped what he was doing. Whether it was something from his tone or not, Yabu wasn’t sure. “Oh, ah, sorry. Rough subject I guess. You guys just break up?”
“Not really. It was about six months ago,” Yabu said. “And to be fair I was the one that broke up with him.”He can feel Hikaru’s eyes staring at him, burrowing holes into his skin. He didn’t mean to let it slip out, to tell him. He hadn’t even told Takaki and Inoo yet. Yabu had seen the way others had looked at him at his other university after he told them. How the light in their eyes darkened when he entered a room. How they would scoot away from him, grab other people as their partners for proof reading assignments when they had scrambled for his careful editing eye before.
People were fragile. One single fact could break apart an entire relationship, and Yabu had been holding onto his for as long as he could. He wanted to be sure that his friends would continue to love him after knowing and not leave him by the wayside. He didn’t need meaningless friendships in his life. He wanted something true and lifelong.“Listen, I’ll tell you what I’m thinking because I’m concerned.” Hikaru was tapping the counter as he spoke. “If you look at me, I’m very obviously the Japanese version of Ryan Gosling, minus the beard.”
Yabu could only stare at Hikaru as he continued to talk, not sure where the other boy was taking this conversation.“Women and men adore me, so it’s only natural that people want to date me. I am beautiful, after all.” If Hikaru had noticed Yabu’s staring, it wasn’t fazing him. He only continued with his monologue. “Since we’re friends now, I only expect that somehow you’ll fall uncontrollably in love with me just like my many fans. Just don’t flirt with me openly, okay? I have to keep my fans happy.”
It took a second for Hikaru’s words to him before Yabu started laughing. “Relax,” he said, pushing Hikaru. “You’re not even close to my type.”
Dinner after lab became a common occurrence between them. They’d sit down at one of the tables, scarfing down food while sharing silly memes they found on their laptops. No matter what Yabu showed, Hikaru always pulled a joke from his mind as if he kept them stored deep in his brain for each specific moment.
It was comfortable being with him. Their previous problems were thrown to wayside as if they never existed in the first place. Besides, it was hard to hate Hikaru when he so easily made Yabu laugh.
There were still things he didn’t know about how Hikaru. What made him tick. What his favorite food was. Most importantly, why was he so prone to explosions? He wanted to crack open the mystery man he met every week, and to learn why exactly he was so drawn to him.
The closer finals drew closer, the more time they spent in the library together, combing through massive tomes to cram as much knowledge as they could into their heads. More often than not, when they were studying for their chemistry final, Hikaru dedicated himself more to writing notes on music sheets instead of flipping through a textbook.“Do you write music for fun?” he asked one day. He paused from his search to remember which elements were alkali metals versus the transition metals.
“I do, but I’m working on something for my composition seminar right now,” Hikaru said. He clicked a few things on his laptop before writing a few more notes down. “Last one of the semester, and I have to blow it out of the water.”“Huh. I didn’t think people outside of the school of music could take music classes,” Yabu said. He turned over the page in his textbook. What he was looking for wasn’t there. “How’d you manage to do that?”
“I didn’t,” Hikaru said between scribbles. “I study music performance with a concentration in composition and theory.”“What?”
“Wait, I didn’t tell you?” he peaked around his computer screen.“No you failed to mention that,” Yabu said. Chemistry be damned. This was more interesting.
“Well now you know. I play bass guitar and I study music. Hold on,” he dropped his pen and started messing with his computer. “Hold on, I know I have some recordings on here some place.”When he was listening to a band, the bass guitar was often lost, the melodic power of the lead guitar overpowering it with the deep undertones shinning through in those moments of weakness. It was a hidden gem in those moments, but not an instrument he could appreciate.
Powerful. Mesmerizing. It was the best way he could describe Hikaru’s music. Even from a recording, he could see how those long fingers would move up and down the neck, picking out each chord before moving swiftly the next. Both hands worked in tandem to create a steady rhythm and beat, making use of the delicious deep notes while highlighting the higher ones.It was no wonder Hikaru was in the school of music. Even as a simple instrumental piece, Yabu wanted to listen to those notes over and over, burning them into his memory to listen to later.
“Come on, I know you want to say how good it is,” Hikaru said.“I can’t. If I compliment you, you’ll get a bigger ego,” Yabu said. He went back to his books. “I just can’t understand why you’d want to take chemistry out of everything.”
Hikaru shrugged. “What can I say? I like blowing stuff up.”Break passes by far too slowly for Yabu’s liking. Home is near school, but Hikaru’s is a three hours train ride north to Miyagi. Not unbearably far, but far enough that its hard on a college student’s budget to visit.
Hikaru texts far more often than Inoo and Takaki, sending selfies along with his messages that make Yabu laugh more often then not. Once he sent a photo of him after not shaving a couple of days, his message: I’m beginning to look more and more like Ryan Gosling every day now.Yabu moves back to campus the Friday before classes start, itching to be back with his friends and to finally see his best friend again. Within minutes of settling back into his dorm room, his phone is bombarded from texts from Hikaru, inviting him out to a party that night.
When he sees Hikaru its as if they haven’t spent any time apart. The break means nothing to them as they collide into a hug, Hikaru attempting to pick Yabu up but only getting him a few inches off the ground.“Let me down,” Yabu said. “You’re gunna drop me.”
“Never,” Hikaru cackled. “I’ll princess carry you if I have to.”Everything is a blur. From the party to how many drinks Yabu crams in his system before he can’t see straight. The only constant in the night is Hikaru. His laugh. His touch. How terrible his puns are, even if Yabu’s drunken mind finds them hilarious. He has difficulty standing each time Hikaru makes a joke, his lungs struggling to find air at each moment.
His world is so much better with Hikaru in it. Even if these memories from the evening will be cloaked in black by the time he wakes. In the moment, everything is real, and how his heart is beating is something he could never forget.They spend more time stumbling over curbs then actually walking back to Yabu’s dorm room. Each time it happens, Yabu can’t help but collapse on the ground as Hikaru tries to pick himself up. When he holds out a hand to Yabu, the older boy pulls him back to the ground, holding Hikaru close until his laughter dies away.
His head starts to feel more grounded the more they walk, coming down from a high he never knew was imaginable. He can see it in Hikaru’s eyes, how the glaze slowly disappears but the mischievous smirk is ever present, as if he is planning his next joke or trick in the deep parts of his mind.Even halfway sober it takes a few tries to get his key into lock, springing the door open and bringing the two into the darkness. The only light floods in from the hallway but is quickly extinguished when Hikaru closes the door behind them.
“You can sleep in Takaki’s bed,” Yabu said, stripping off his coat. “He won’t be back until Sunday.” He turns around, and Hikaru is closer then he expects. “What are you doing?”Hikaru only smiles and wraps his arms around Yabu’s neck, pulling them even closer together. “I missed you.”
Lips. Hikaru’s lips. They’re on his.He can’t breathe. Can’t think. His mind is screaming at him to stop, about how this isn’t right, but his body is taking over. He needs more of Hikaru. He lets the kiss deepen, lips licking at Hikaru’s the let him in. He wants to feel warm, oh so warm, and his body knows the solution is to be wrapped in Hikaru’s embrace.
“I need you,” Hikaru groans.He leans his head, and Yabu’s lips find a little spot to kiss and suck on, claiming it for his own. His hands snake under Hikaru’s shirt, admiring the muscles always hidden beneath that cursed clothing.
The more his body acts, the more the voices in his head are pushed away. The more clothing they discard, the more their sweet, sweet skin touches, and Yabu’s breath is stolen from his lungs. A different fire is coursing through his veins as they crash to the bed, fingers exploring skin they’re never seen before. Even if the voices were still here, telling him what not to do, he doesn’t think he could stop his body from reacting to Hikaru’s touch.“Please,” Hikaru begs, hands finding Yabu’s neck once more.
For once, Hikaru looks vulnerable under him eyes so full of want and need. And who is he to deny Hikaru something he wants?Morning comes far too quickly, the sunlight cascading through the blinds and waking Yabu up far too quickly. Hikaru is already awake, one of Yabu’s hands in his, rubbing small circles into it.
“We’re still friends, right?” Hikaru whispers. He won’t look Yabu in the eye. “Cause friends do this kind of thing, right?”“Yeah,” he agrees. “They do.”
Yabu tries to keep a smile on his face to be strong and supportive. His heart is twisting and turning in his chest as he tries to keep whatever emotion is trying to escape at bay. Once Hikaru is gone he can let everything be free.
It was a wonder how he could fall so fast. How each moment could pull him deeper and deeper into an abyss he couldn’t surface from, no matter how he struggled against the torrent.
Hikaru was his world, the very air he breathed. Whether he knew it or not, Yabu’s heart had begun to follow along with the rhythm of Hikaru’s music, being pulled along with each beautiful note. Whether its love or lust, Yabu isn’t sure, but he knows those moments apart are spent waiting for their next meeting.His one saving grace is they still have chemistry together. The second half of the class more difficult and requiring more time spent out of class to memorize the equations necessary to pass. The only difference is they selected different times for their lab portion, Hikaru in the beginning of the week while Yabu’s is closer to the end. Music classes take precedence for a mere science class Hikaru is taking for fun.
Nothing is the same. Lab had always been something he had looked forward to. How Hikaru could make a simple experiment about chemical reactions interesting, and how they’re howling laughter would fill the room. Several times their instructor had walked over, seeing of they were on task only to find their lab report completed to perfection.Without Hikaru there, it was a struggle. The concepts were difficult to master, and Yabu spent more time combing through his textbook for the answers rather then focused on the experiments before him.
They spent more time on the weekend together, laughing and gaming with each other in Hikaru’s dorm room. His roommate, Daiki, the very same one Yabu had met at the party he and Hikaru became friends, was often there and played games with them. Daiki wasn’t the best, his hand to eye coordination not the best, and it was often a clash between him and Hikaru on who would claim first place.Several times they mashed their friend groups together, so all five of them crammed into the tiny room, yelling and screaming about Mario Cart races and Super Smash Brothers games. The floor’s RA was constantly being called to quiet them down, their laughter having been heard in the rooms all around them.
The more time that passes, the more his heart his heart calms. It was all in his head, something that happened as a one time deal. That was it. Everything up until this point, all of the seflies, all of the little touches Hikaru gave him, his hand grazing his skin, were things between friends. Nothing more, nothing less. Those scared little words Hikaru had whispered were in fear of their lost friendship. It was all a drunken mistake.Except it’s not.
When Daiki goes to spend the night at his girlfriend’s house, leaving them alone for the first time since their drunken mishap, its not long before Hikaru is straddling Yabu’s lap, hands wrapping themselves in Yabu’s shirt and pulling him closer for a kiss. The same breathlessness invades him, and his hands struggle to find some semblance of reality as Hikaru grinds slow circles on top of him.And really, who can resist that smile? Those lovely lips on his, pulling a moan from him every time. How much his skin burns each time Hikaru runs a hand down his chest, tugging at the hem and begging for it to come off along with his jeans. He can’t say no, no matter how close the word is to the tip of his tongue.
They find more excuses to be along, to tangle themselves in one another. When Takaki and Yabu move into an apartment at the start of their third year, Hikaru becomes their unofficial third roommate, staying over every weekend so he can wrap himself in Yabu’s embrace. Hikaru’s hips are an addiction he can’t break free from.There’s a rock in his chest, no matter how he struggles to pick at it and remove it from its home. It’s something in the way Hikaru moves, how he acts when they’re out in public. Hoe he pulls away from each of Yabu’s touches, no matter how small. How, only when they’re alone, does he show any affection at all.
He wants to bring it up, the ask Hikaru about it, but those damn kisses mess with his brain. Leave his thoughts running circles around themselves until it’s only pleasure that remains.When Takaki brings his crush over, a theatre major named Chinen, Yabu can’t help but watch how they act together. How Chinen’s hands brush over Takaki’s thigh, how he leans into him so casually as they play Mario Cart. How, even when they’re relaxing together, how easy it is for them to sit and cuddle even with others watching.
It’s how a relationship should be. How they can casually show affection for each other without being all over each other every moment like those American romance movies. Yabu doesn’t need that. He wants something that isn’t limited to when the doors are closed and no one can see.“Hikaru, what are we?”
He sits on his bed, fingers itching to grab onto something, anything, while he waits for a response.“I mean, we’re friends that have sex,” Hikaru said. His hand tapping a little rhythm on Yabu’s thigh. “What more could you want?”
He expected this. He really did. That Hikaru could not let go of his own fears, his on inhibitions for even a moment.“You should leave and,” Yabu whispers. He removes Hikaru’s hand from his thigh. “And not come back.”
The silence is deafening. Even the click of the doorframe behind him is no match for the silence pounding in his heart. He wants to wipe everything from his memory, the emotions, the feelings, and all of the little moments in between. Those sweet conversations they had while sitting opposite of each other and even when they were curling in bed with one another, Hikaru’s hair tickling his neck, were meaningless.He should have known and should have seen it coming. From the very beginning he had known this wasn’t good, would have never been. His mind had been screaming at him to stop, to reconsider, but the heart wants what it wants. The next time around, he refused to make the same mistake twice. Beautiful smiles and wit would not pull him in again. Yabu would make sure of it.
Hikaru is everywhere. From the campus grounds to the dinning halls, everywhere Yabu turns he is there. Even when he runs to get food at close to midnight, there Hikaru is, walking across campus with a girl, hand wrapped firmly in hers.He should have known it wasn’t real. It had been a phase, only a phase that Hikaru was going through or a silly little game to see how far he could take things. It had to be. From the very beginning he had been playing Yabu like a fool, a little plaything he could do whatever he wished with.
It didn’t hurt any less after knowing. He could feel Hikaru’s eyes everywhere, watching him. It feels as if a piece of his soul is gone, wandering out in the wilderness but staying close so it can watch his inevitable destruction.He wants to reach out, to talk with him. He needs an explanation for why even after his brain has reasoned everything out. Just a few words, a few minutes, so he can rest easier and focus on his schoolwork once more. If Hikaru wanted to apologize he could, but just one simple sentence is all he wants. The longer he waits, the stronger the need to talk with him is, and Inoo is the one to snap some sense into him.
“If he really loves you, he’ll come back and apologize for being a twat,” Inoo said one night. His architecture book making Yabu’s head spin every time he looks at it. “Until then, don’t talk to him. It’ll make you look stupid.”“Inoo, when did you get so romantically savvy?” he asked.
He shrugs. “I dunno. Watching you guys fail at love and keep trying makes me a little smarter, I guess.”It’s a Tuesday night when a knock comes on his apartment door, and it feels like he’s stepped onto the set of a Monday night drama when he opens it.
“Can we talk?” Hikaru asked. Yabu sees his eyes dart across the apartment and notice Takaki sitting on the coach. “Privately?”Their walk is quiet, and Yabu catches a concerned look from Takaki before he closes the bedroom door behind them.
“If you want to talk, then talk,” he said, crossing his arms over his chest. “I’m waiting to hear your explanation.”He feels himself pulled forward in an instant, being wrapped in Hikaru’s warm embrace. How long has it been? Since they held each other like this? Three months? Four? It’s felt like an eternity since he’s been wrapped in these arms. A moment, maybe even two, before Hikaru speaks right into his ear.
“I’ve always thought of myself as one way and nothing but that. I’m the clown, the joker, that’s sole purpose is to make other people laugh,” Hikaru said, his voice barely audible over Yabu’s roaring heartbeat. “Eventually I’d shed it, settle down with a nice girl and live the rest of my life just passing on through and be a good example for my kids. It’s what every kid wants right? To be normal. I don’t want to stray from that path. I want to be that person.”He can feel his heart sink in his chest. He knows where this conversation is going. He can see it from a mile away. This isn’t what he wants, but it's the closure that needs to happen between them.
“And that’s why it terrifies me. Why I feel this way when I’m with you,” Hikaru continues. “You’re the only damn thing I can focus on, the only person that can calm me down when my world feels like it’s crashing around me. I’ve never felt so strongly about someone the way I do about you, and it terrifies me that I can’t be that normal person I’ve dreamed about.”“Hikaru…I don’t understand what you’re saying,” Yabu choked out. He wraps his arms around Hikaru, trying to pull them closer together. “You’re not making any sense.”
“I…I want to be that normal person we see every day at school. I want it so bad but…but I’d give up all of my dreams to see you smile.” Hikaru pulls back a little so he could look Yabu in the eyes. “I…I love you so damn much it hurts, Yabu, and I know I’m young and stupid, but I know I want to spend the rest of my life with you and I hope you feel the same.”He can’t control his heart, not with Hikaru’s eyes looking the way they do. So terrified and scared at what Yabu’s next words will be. He feels as though he’s being tugged through a rollercoaster, dipping and diving between emotions. His eardrums are banging out a rhythm that only Hikaru could compose.
“Hikaru,” he whispered, going to close the distance between them, “you’re not stupid.”The kiss is unlike any they’ve ever had, soft and sweet. For once he wants to memorize every line, every valley of Hikaru and to commit them to memory for the next time. It won’t be the last time, Yabu is sure of it, but he wants to feel everything.
For only a moment he pulls back to whisper the words he knows Hikaru wants to hear before claiming those lips once more for his own.“I love you too.”
They tumble onto the bed, Yabu pressing Hikaru down onto the sheets as his hands make quick work of those jeans. It’s the first time that Yabu truly believes they make love.
“Ah, Hikaru-san? I’ve been looking for you.”
The boy standing in front of their booth isn’t someone Yabu has seen before. Hands nervously grasping at his shoulder bag, one hand pushing his long hair behind his ear as he stands before them.“Sorry, you are?” Hikaru asked.
“Okamoto Keito,” the boy chirped, a blush cascading across his cheeks. “You, ah, helped me out with something a few months back.”“Don’t worry, I remember you Keito,” Hikaru laughed. “And I thought I told you that you could be less formal with me!”
“Sorry, Hikaru-san,” Keito said.Yabu has to stifle his laughter. He isn’t sure what the relationship between the two is, but he knows its nothing to worry about.
“I just wanted to say thank you for your advice,” Keito continues. “You were right about my, uh, friend. We’re dating now thanks to you.”“Told you,” Hikaru said. He leans forward on the table. “That means I owe you money, right? Cause I was right?”
“No, no, no.” He shakes his hands. “I just wanted to say thank you, and, ah, is this your friend? The one you were telling me about?”There’s a silence between the three, as Yabu and Keito wait for Hikaru to answer. Hikaru only smiles and takes Yabu’s hand in his.
“Boyfriend, actually,” he said. “Keito, this is Yabu.”Yabu can’t stop the grin from spreading across his face, not even when Hikaru starts rubbing circles onto the top of his hand. Somehow he knows this relationship will work.