Between Shin and Akihiro, there were many rules. None of them set in stone, none of them formally decided, none of them ever spoken of or discussed.

That was one of the rules: Say nothing.

Akihiro knew not to disturb Shin around school unless he was alone somewhere; the fountain was a good place for that, but the roof was better. Few students around Seirei were aware of any interaction at all between their musical idol and that prize delinquent of the third year and both Akihiro and Shin were happy to keep it like that. Akihiro didn't want to end up attracting Shin's fangirls seeking gossip and Shin didn't want to risk anything of his reputation by being known to hang around that kind of person.

Akihiro knew not to let Shin know that this view of him hurt. Knew never to say anything, knew never to suggest that maybe constantly telling somebody how much they had the potential to ruin your public image and revelling in the space between one and another was an incredibly hurtful thing to do. Akihiro knew never to let Shin know how cruel his thoughtless words could sometimes be (and how much crueller were the planned words, polished shards sharpened to perfection with an innocent smile) and, most importantly, never to let Shin know how much those words hurt him personally. He was not a person who hurt and Shin was not a person with the capability to hurt, that was how it always was.

That was how it always was.

Akihiro knew not to draw attention to himself at any of Shin's concerts. Most of the time he didn't let Shin know he was even there, sparked by the curiosity of what Shin's performance was like without being conscious to his presence. Being too concerned about the mood of his audience to pick argument with but one of its members. Akihiro would stay at the back of the hall and watch and even from a distance, feel himself moved every time. (Shin didn't need to know that kind of thing, though. He had enough fans squealing their adoration for his music throughout the normal school day without Akihiro stoking the coals. If there was one thing that Nishimura Shin did not need, it was his ego boosted).

Shin knew at what points to stop antagonising Akihiro. He knew the difference between his usual everyday grumpiness and a true bad mood, some kind of hurt, some kind of pain. He never mentioned it or asked on it, but knew it when he saw it and knew when to back off.

Shin knew, essentially, the same things that Akihiro knew but didn't know if Akihiro was aware of this. He knew that splitting his life into compartments was unfair and that withholding parts of it from Akihiro for fear of his reputation wasn't the best way to keep somebody's friendship. He knew that, for all intents and purposes, what he had with Akihiro was nowhere near 'friendship'. Officially, they hated each other. Officially, their conversations served only to firm that fact. Were anybody to view their interaction - which they wouldn't, because they shouldn't - they would never have thought anything other than that, and both Shin and Akihiro were aware of that fact.

Off-the-record, however, they both shared another small fragment of knowledge. That fragment that went against everything.

Say nothing. Do nothing. Pretend that this doesn't exist and pretend that we don't exist.

(What's this 'we'? There's nothing like that to speak of.)

That rule seemed to be the basis of everything. There was nothing to comment on and nothing to feel moved by, nothing to take note of and nothing to feel for. So when the situation would move them and it went from Jinguuji and Nishimura to Akihiro and Shin, that was something secret between the both of them. When Shin's moods dropped and his expression became blank, when Akihiro worried and just wanted Shin to feel, that was against the rules (but nobody else had to know, did they?). When Akihiro's moods dropped they did so differently to Shin, but Shin himself was still able to recognise it and behave accordingly. Give Akihiro space, when he needed it. Be closer when he needed that more. Bring through tea and be patient and kind in a way he really wasn't for any other situation. And Akihiro would look up and his eyes would speak this, why are you even doing this?

Shin kept his patience locked away for those situations. When it was like that, he was tolerant of anything. (He knew how unbearable he surely was to Akihiro in similar situations and yet, again, Akihiro always seemed to put up with him. If nothing else it was repaying the favour, but Shin knew it far more than only that.)

At those times, both Shin and Akihiro found those situations - but for their causes - infinitely preferable. Wasn't this so much better than always being antagonistic? Shin would lie back with Akihiro's head on his lap, the both of them remaining silent, Shin running one hand through Akihiro's hair. If they could stay like this, wasn't that better than if they didn't? Wasn't that better than how everything usually was? They both knew that and both felt it, so why--...?

In every silent moment, a declaration would be made.

The laws have changed

(but so have you)

(and so have I)