Universe: Sekaiichi Hatsukoi
Fic Type: One Shot
Word Count: ~2000
Alt. Link: FF.Net
Summary: Takano kidnaps Yokozawa for a trip to the ocean. Yokozawa is forced to face him and reality.
The man in question stared at Takano blankly.
"What are you doing here?"
"We're going on a trip today." Takano sounded almost excited, bouncing once on the heels of his boots. He was dressed warmly in a long coat and scarf.
"Since when?" Yokozawa asked in the flattest tone possible.
"Since I said so. And we both have the day off."
Yokokawa made no move to comply. As if the idea hadn't come completely out of nowhere, Takano frowned. "Come on, get your ass moving!"
Yokozawa sighed. He wasn’t used to being on the receiving end of this.
"Do you want to come in while I put food out for Sorata?"
"That it is."
"That it is."
"...I don't see why you need one." Yokozawa gave a little huff, fussing with his seatbelt. He didn't dwell on the thought that he was probably Takano's first passenger. "I don't understand why you need one when public transportation should suffice. This is just a waste of money, Masamune."
"I just wanted one, okay? Leave it alone." Takano's tone was harsh, but Yokozawa saw the flicker of a smile. He looked out the window.
"Where are we going, anyway?"
"Took you long enough to ask. We’re going to the beach!”
"The hell? It's mid-November. Any bout of swimming will come with a side of hypothermia."
"I never planned on swimming, idiot, and the ocean isn't too far."
"The sun is going to set not long after we get there," Yokozawa warned.
"That's exactly my point. We'll watch the sunset."
"Romantic. What is this, a date?"
"Alright, enough of the back talk. Is it just too hard for you to believe that I wanted you to be there to watch it with me?" Takano glanced over at his passenger.
Yokozawa went quiet.
After grabbing a bite to eat, they parked along the coast in view of the shore. They leaned against the side of Takano's car and watched the colors in the sky change, hands tucked safely in their pockets and away from the bitter cold.
"Damn, that's a nice shade of orange like... a peach and mango smoothie," Takano remarked after a while, dark eyes illuminated.
Yokozawa snickered. "Wow, you’re such a poet. I think I've gone weak in the knees."
"Shut up!" But Takano laughed in spite of himself, taking a drag on his cigarette. Yokozawa hadn’t noticed when he pulled one out.
“Got another?” he asked, nodding towards it. “My pack is empty.”
“It’s my last one.” Takano handed the cigarette to him. It wasn’t their first shared cigarette, but Yokozawa always felt like it was. It also wasn’t their first time exchanging saliva, but Yokozawa ignored that.
“How’s my cat?” Takano asked.
“Same as always.”
“He looked fat.”
Yokozawa frowned. “As I’ve told you before, it’s his winter coat.”
Takano gave a small laugh. “Whatever you say.”
There was a stretch of peaceful silence as they passed the cigarette back and forth, fingertips brushing. Yokozawa paid no attention to the sped up lub lub in his chest. As subtly as he could, he looked over at Takano.
It was a slow process, but Yokozawa had managed to help Takano find his footing again. Time passed in capricious stills and blurs. Takano graduated on time and got himself a good job. Now, he was transferring to Marukawa with Yokozawa’s help. He appeared better than ever and ready to prove himself.
Yokozawa was proud, in a way. It was worth the trouble he had gone through to see this Takano again. This strong, impressive Takano. The one that was meant to lead. People wouldn't be able to stay away from him. The thought stung a little, so Yokozawa didn't dwell on it.
"Oh!" Takano suddenly moved forward and bent over.
"What is it?"
Takano looked over his shoulder.
"A big seashell!" He grinned and held it up proudly, still crouched on the ground.
"What are you, a kid?"
It was one of the most childish things Yokozawa had ever seen Takano do, but he felt his heartbeat stutter. His expression had been so genuine and even now, Takano smirked to himself as he stood and examined the seashell more closely.
He held it out.
"Want it?" Takano said, smiling fondly at Yokozawa as the colors of the sunset splashed across the outline of his face.
Yokozawa took it without a word.
Takano blinked. “Thought it was that pretty, huh?”
Yokozawa scoffed, looking away. That proud feeling struck him again. That he was the one to bring that kind of happiness back to this man, this man who had so much more to share with the world. He felt the stinging again and couldn't brush it off as easily.
“Masamune,” Yokozawa began, though he wasn’t sure what he wanted to say. He opened and closed his mouth once before settling on, "You look good, you know."
Takano smirked again. "Do I? I've been thinking lately that I'm okay."
"What do you mean?"
"I'm just... okay. Like this, I mean. I feel like I can move forward."
Yokozawa shifted, gravel scratching beneath his shoes. "Good to hear."
Out on the ocean, the waves were calm. The two men looked out at them, the solid yet fragile blue stretching on for miles. There was a sense of serenity and eternality here that could be felt in the air. A change in lighting brought their attention back to the sky.
"Here it comes," Takano said softly as he took the dying cigarette from Yokozawa and put it out under his shoe.
Yokozawa looked up. Just as his eyes settled on the shrinking sun, Takano spoke again.
"Thank you, Yokozawa. For everything you've done for me."
And for a moment, Yokozawa wished he could join the sun disappearing on the end of the horizon. He didn't want to look at Takano, to see the expression on his face. His heart felt like it was being eclipsed and his throat felt stupidly tight.
He wished he could join the sun, because he was reaching his limit. How could he not think about, obsess over, how easily he could lose this man to someone else? There was a panic rising in his chest.
A layer of darkness had settled over their surroundings.
Takano faced his companion. “Yokozawa, you’re a very important friend to me. Sometimes we butt heads and you’ve seen me at my shittiest but that you’re still here means a lot.”
“Of course,” Yokozawa said if not just for something to say. He sounded far away, while Takano’s low tone seemed to resound right in his ear.
“Hey, are you really listening?”
“Of course,” Yokozawa repeated. Takano touched his shoulder and he flinched but met Takano’s eyes. It took Yokozawa’s damndest to keep everything at bay, offer a blank if not slightly curious look.
“Well,” Takano continued, “we’ll be working together soon.”
“Cut to the chase already, Masamune.”
Takano looked out at the ocean, overtaken by the calm of the night.
“What we’ve done in the past… no more.”
Yokozawa felt something in him stop dead. He wanted to ask Takano to clarify. He knew what he meant. Of course, he did. It’d been months since they’d touched in that way, but it always felt like yesterday for Yokozawa. He thought about the things that they’ve “done” too often, went over them millions of times in his head, relived those intensely intimate moments until it made Yokozawa feel sick with self-pity. He just wanted to stall Takano, to stop what he was trying to make final.
“Because we’ll be coworkers?” he asked quietly.
“That’s part of it. But we also weren’t dating. It was irresponsible of me to sleep with you in the first place. To me, you’re not something as meaningless as a sex friend.”
Yokozawa frowned at the ground. Takano’s words had good intentions, but… they were tearing him apart. He had never said anything against dating Takano properly, nor did he regret sleeping with him those few times, and he should tell him so.
He should tell him because he’s been thinking the same we can be more than this for years now. Many long years that he let pass them by because, in the end, there was nothing he could do to chain Takano down, nothing to reassure him that Takano wouldn’t finally snap, finally shove him away and refuse his attentions. It was why he had to try his best at Takano’s side, because it was the most advantageous spot he could maintain without asking for too much.
Yokozawa looked up.
Takano was frowning. “I’m talking to you, dammit.”
Fuck that kid from high school who had ruined Takano’s life. Yokozawa could be what he needed.
“Masamune, I–” Yokozawa’s voice died in his throat. Takano was looking at him, and he could see genuine concern mixed in with the irritation. Blood rushed in his ears.
Suddenly, the idea of rejection was all too real. Everything seemed to be falling away from him. He reached a hand out and grabbed Takano’s wrist. Their eyes met, and Yokozawa was struck by a feeling of… loss.
Takano bristled. “If you have something to say, spit it out. Say it now.”
He looked at Yokozawa like he was ready for anything. He didn’t look away or yank himself out of Yokozawa’s loosening grip. He only waited for the other man to speak.
Yokozawa had always loved this side of Takano – the side that didn’t run away, the side that was honest to the point of being borderline offensive. It was also like a slap to the face, the reason Yokozawa realized that he should be satisfied with their current relationship. Takano always knows what he wants. He doesn’t hesitate and just goes for it. And if Yokozawa had been what he wanted, wouldn’t he already be his? Wouldn’t they be in the exact place Yokozawa wants them to be, has wanted them to be for longer than he wants to acknowledge?
When Yokozawa could finally speak again, he sounded nothing like himself.
He was surprised at how normal he sounded. The part of him that hated the idea of Takano seeing him so weak had taken over.
“It’s nothing,” he said in reply to Takano’s raised eyebrow.
Yokozawa remembered little of the rest of his and Takano’s outing, blurting out generic responses to Takano’s small talk. When Takano dropped him off, he had never been so glad to be away from him in his life.
The next thing he knew he was on his couch, beer in hand. Yokozawa wanted to drown himself, ignore the sinking feeling that settled in his chest. He numbly took sips from his bottle, fingering the seashell Takano had given him earlier. It was cold and moist and… something warm dripped onto it. Something shameful and ridiculous that clouded the edges of Yokozawa’s vision.
Yokozawa grimaced at his own pitifulness and threw the seashell away like it burned him.
It smashed against a wall, broken pieces falling like rain.
Yokozawa could be what Takano needed. He knew he could be. Takano had already relied on him this far. They were used to putting up with each other’s bullshit, and Yokozawa would never hurt him like that damned brat Takano had loved in high school. Yokozawa could be what Takano needed, and Yokozawa would just have to keep hoping that someday Takano would realize it too.
A/N: Written for the fanfic challenge issued on the SiH comm forever ago. Inspired by "Into the Ocean" by Blue October. Sorry for doing this to you again, Yokozawa. I'm overjoyed that you get past this and end up with something so wonderful <3
Comments and concrit are very much appreciated ♥