A/N: I wrote this literally right after the series came out back in 2008, and now it doesn't make as much sense because, cough, spoiler: Shujin and Miyoshi are now married. But regardless, I wanted to post it because my only other Bakuman fic is incredibly depressing, and this is much less sad.

Disclaimer: Ohba Tsugumi and Obata Takeshi are the owners of Bakuman. I only wish it were mine; Takagi and Miyoshi would never have gotten married.


Mashiro should have realized that trying to plan any aspect of his life would inevitably blow up in his face.

Takagi had changed every plan he'd ever made: the droll, meaningless government job he'd expected for himself had been eclipsed completely by Takagi's endless ambition, and Mashiro hated to admit that agreeing to partner with him hadn't solely been because of Azuki.

Asking her to marry him had been another of his foolish attempts at mapping out his future. He'd had no idea how long it would take him and Shujin to get a manga published and turned into an anime, didn't know where they'd go for high school or where they'd travel for their careers or—most importantly—who they'd meet.

And now Takagi was changing his plans again. Takagi, with that brilliance and surprising modesty and inadvertent, quirky charm. Takagi, with his perpetually tousled hair that made Mashiro ache to run his fingers through it. Takagi, who knew every nuance of Mashiro's personality, knew his mind, his art.

Mashiro had noticed it months ago—the glances, the lingering touches. He still spoke to Azuki regularly, still kept up the pretense of wanting to be with her, but he had long since replaced her as his motivation with his own drive to accomplish his dream, had replaced her as his love with his drawings, Shujin's stories, the manga born from their combined talents.

He hadn't wanted to admit it when he'd first noticed. He didn't like change. He liked the idea of marrying Azuki and having two children and a house in the outskirts of Tokyo. But, he realized, that was the problem—he liked the idea. It wasn't Azuki herself whom he wanted to be with, it was what she was—pretty, of average intelligence, a walking cliché of a future housewife.

Mashiro had always wanted to be normal—or, rather, he'd expected to be. But he supposed that he just wasn't destined for normality, because liking another guy certainly wasn't normal, and he liked Shujin—liked when Shujin kissed him, touched him, liked the feel of Shujin's smooth skin under his fingers.

That was all it was, liking; he didn't know if he was in love or if he wanted to move to America and get married and adopt a load of kids for Shujin to corrupt. He didn't know if he wanted to be with Shujin forever. But for the second time in his life, Shujin had shown him that there was something wonderful about uncertainty.