Title: The Walls that are Left.
Author: isumi 'kivic' a.k.a isumi_ilde
Characters/Pairings: Kazuki, Soushi, Maya. SouKazuSou.
Warnings: Shounen-ai, possible OOC-ness, terrible grammar. Spoilers for those who doesn't know anything about the very ending of Soukyuu no Fafner: Heaven and Earth, or has no idea about Soukyuu no Fafner: EXODUS. Un-beta-ed.
Timeline: A year or so after the movie, I suppose. Before EXODUS. I NEED A CONTEXT OUT OF KAZUKI'S LONGER HAIR LIKE WHOA.
Disclaimer: Soukyuu no Fafner is rightfully owned by XEBEC and Ubukata Tou and Nakanishi-P. I don't make any profit out of this.
A/N: I am happy. I am so happy and excited for October and the DVD and EXODUS and I can't even think anymore. I think maybe my purpose of life these six years has been fulfilled. I don't know what I'm talking about. But I'm seriously happy and I think EXODUS!Kazuki is kinda girly but sexy nonetheless in the synergetic suit and I HOPE SOUSHI CAN PILOT NOW IT'LL ADD NEW BUCKETS OF ANGST AND WORRYING!KAZUKI HNGGGGGG
This would be azureila a.k.a sheilaluv's belated birthday present this year. I tried to write an AnE fic and a Star Driver fic, but in the end I got stuck and instead finished this in three hours today. I am so sorry, sista. I hope you'll enjoy it nonetheless. ;A;
A Soukyuu no Fafner Fanfiction
The Walls that are Left
"Kazuki-kun," Toomi calls on bright Sunday afternoon, when the summer sun was shining perhaps a tad bit too hot for a fun day at the beach with the younger generation pilots. "Don't you think your hair is getting a bit too long?"
He pauses for a second on his way to get a bottle of water—Soushi is looking a bit too red in the face after the beach volleyball match with Kenji and Canon so he wants to make sure they're all kept safe from the danger that is dehydration. He tilts his head a little, trying in vain to check how long his hair exactly is. Mumbling hesitantly, he turns back to Toomi, "Is it?"
"It's already past your shoulder," Toomi points out, handing him the water bottle. "Kind of untidy, if you ask me. Are you thinking of matching Soushi's hair?"
"Eh…?" His hand reaches to his back, trying to judge how long his hair has grown. Sure enough, it's already past his shoulder blades. He's never noticed it before—for all the 'cool and handsome Kazuki-senpai' title his underclassmen give him, he isn't exactly a self-conscious person when it comes to fashion, whether it's clothes or hair. "…not really. I didn't notice it's gotten so long."
Toomi makes a thoughtful hum. "Do you want me to cut it?" She offers with a grin, but then amends her statement quickly as if she's surprised that she even offered. "I mean, only if you want to."
Kazuki's eyebrows raise in surprise. "You know how to cut hair, Toomi?"
"It doesn't seem like something a climber would know, does it?" she lets out a giggle, sounding somewhat embarrassed. "I've trimmed Canon's hair several times, and styled my niece's a lot. Oh, I cut Sakura's last month. My sister was the one who taught me how."
"I see," Kazuki says, still keeping a hand on his shoulder, touching the ends of his hair. "You sound quite professional."
"I'll try my best not to mess up, if that's what you're worried about," Toomi says. Kazuki laughs a little, and shakes his head gently; shoulder-length brown strands fly to obscure his face. He tucks the stranded hair behind his ears, makes a sheepish grin at the pointed look Toomi's aiming at him, and says, "It's fine for now. It's rather comforting, I think."
"Comforting?" Toomi echoes, obviously puzzled, but Kazuki only give her a nod and take the water bottle. He notices Soushi's coming when Toomi waves at the longer-haired boy in greeting, so he smiles and opens the bottle, takes several gulps, then hands the half-full bottle to Soushi, who doesn't even pause to think and drains the water gratefully.
Toomi giggles, for some reason.
Soushi's belongings and stuff are mostly still in his room at Alvis, but he keeps quite a number of clothes at Kazuki's house. He rarely sleeps in his room at Alvis lately; Commander Makabe always questions his whereabouts whenever Kazuki comes home by himself ("Where's Soushi-kun?", "Is he not having dinner with us?", "Isn't he sleeping here tonight?", "You're not fighting are you, Kazuki?") that it's more convenient for both of them to come home to Kazuki's. On the rare occasions he decides to sleep in his room at Alvis, Kazuki never fails to show up around midnight—still in pajamas and sometimes even bringing along his favorite pillow—and always ends up sleeping with him on Alvi's hard, standardized-for-health bed.
Kazuki's room is much more comfortable and homey, anyway.
"It's too hot today," Kazuki says as he carelessly sprawls on his bed, in a tone close to a whine. Soushi chuckles as he busies himself drying his hair; silky light brown tresses falling gracefully to his hips. It has gotten a bit too long for his liking, but the notion of cutting his hair bothers him for some reason, so he decides not to cut them, at least until they prove to be a problem. He doesn't notice Kazuki's stare until he finishes, and when he does, he pauses, somewhat a little bit awkwardly.
"What is it, Kazuki?"
"Nothing," Kazuki blinks, the entranced look in his eyes disappears almost immediately. "Your hair's—well, long would be an understatement since you're male."
"There's no rule that states males cannot have long hair." Soushi gives a small smile, dropping his towel on his shoulder and sits down on the edge of the bed, watching Kazuki's hair that's splayed on the pillow. "Yours is getting kind of long, too," he comments absently, picking at a lock of dark strands. Kazuki makes a thoughtful noise, and they both let silence reigns the room for several moments, simply enjoying each other's presence.
"Is it really that long?" Kazuki asks at last, eyeing his friend questioningly. Soushi's hand pauses on his picking, letting the strands of hair falling back down from between his long fingers.
"A little," he says honestly, because he thinks there are already enough lies in the past to build a wall between him and Kazuki, who has tried his hardest to break it down, and Soushi never wants to rebuild it again. "Why?"
"Toomi says it's time for a haircut," Kazuki tells him, and Soushi hums in acknowledgment. Absently, he lets his finger traces a strand of Kazuki's hair slowly, listening to Kazuki's recounting of his conversation with Toomi earlier. When he's done, Kazuki looks up at him and asks, "Do you think I should cut it?"
Soushi only hesitates for a second, but he knows Kazuki notices anyway. "If you don't want to, then you don't have to."
"But you think I should cut my hair."
"Well, you do look a bit more feminine—" he never finishes, because Kazuki shoves his arm good-naturedly. He laughs softly at Kazuki's protest ("You of all people don't get to say that to me, Soushi, really!") but doesn't retaliate, instead settling back down, this time letting his fingers to thread through Kazuki's locks.
"I haven't really thought about a haircut," Kazuki says then, voice soft, holding an almost nostalgic tone. "I kind of like it, like this. It's comforting. Do you think—"
"It doesn't matter," he replies, and before he knows it, the words fall from his mouth without barely any effort. "I like it either way."
His cheeks feel warmer right then and there, and his fingers pause as an awkward silence once again fills the room. They avert each other's eyes then, long enough that Soushi almost retracts his fingers from Kazuki's hair, but then Kazuki catches his eyes.
"Yeah?" the older boy says, like Soushi's opinion is the only thing that matters in the world, and Soushi's breath hitches in his throat.
"Yeah," he confirms almost breathlessly, like there isn't enough oxygen in the room for him to breathe, but Kazuki's grin breaks the spell and suddenly oxygen is rushing through is respiratory system, because the room is filled with soft laughter and everything is normal again.
"Maybe a trim, then," Kazuki decides by the time they lay next to each other on bed—Soushi's already half asleep from the warmth of the blankets and the body on his side. "Toomi did say it's kind of unkempt."
"That's okay," he answers sleepily. "Whatever you want, Kazuki. Anything you want," and he wonders why it sounds like a promise that he'll give Kazuki anything; anything Kazuki wants, anything Kazuki needs. He feels rather than sees Kazuki's smile at that, as the body next to him burrows deeper into the blankets. Soushi closes his eyes again, feeling too comfortable to even move a finger, and almost misses Kazuki's whisper.
"Only if you want it, too, Soushi."
He cracks open an eye, finding Kazuki's dark eyes locked into his as if it's his only lifeline. A hand finds Soushi's under the blankets, holding it gently, and Soushi smiles, content.
Kazuki smiles, too. It is enough, so Soushi closes his eyes again and sleeps until the first light of dawn comes.
"Are you sure you just want a trim, Kazuki-kun?"
Maya's bright eyes meet Kazuki's on the mirror, and he smiles. "Just a trim, Toomi."
She makes a disappointed face. "And here I thought I'd be able to do some experiment. Ne, Minashiro-kun, don't you want to see Kazuki-kun with a wilder hairstyle? Rina-chan says it's popular among the girls lately." She pauses at Soushi's confused look, and covers a soft laugh behind her palm. "I'm sorry. I don't suppose Kazuki-kun needs that."
"What do you mean?" Kazuki looks up, watching her testing a pair of scissors. Maya sends him a meaningful smile, before glancing back to Soushi, who's still sitting upright on the couch, staring at them intently.
"I suppose it's what Minashiro-kun thinks that's important for you, Kazuki-kun. Not the girls, so you don't need the popularity, not really."
"Ah," Kazuki says, a bit hesitantly. "I don't think I'm that popular, Toomi."
A snip. "Really, Kazuki-kun? You're a bit too dense for your own good." Another snip and Maya skillfully halves his hair with a comb before returning her attention back to the scissors. "But then again, Minashiro-kun is such a center of your life that I'm not surprised you don't really notice."
"He's way more popular than me," Kazuki's tone gains a self-defensive edge. "There are girls following him home even before I started piloting."
"That's beside the point," Maya points out, her fingers moving steadily with the sounds of snip-snip-snip turning into a familiar rhythm. "You like, Minashiro-kun, don't you? So what matters is what Minashiro-kun thinks of you, not other people. You've been projecting that kind of attitude since forever." She smiles at Kazuki through the looking glass, jerking her head softly towards Soushi. "I'm sure Minashiro-kun thinks the same."
Kazuki looks thoughtful for a moment, before catching Maya's eyes through the mirror again. "Your opinion is important, too, Toomi." He says honestly.
Maya gives him a grateful smile; she's grown up from the bittersweet feelings she has toward Kazuki in a lot of ways. "Thank you, Kazuki-kun. Just like Canon, Kenji and Sakura's opinions matter, too, right?" Kazuki nods, and she laughs. "Of course. Ah, stay still please; I don't want to cut your ear."
She finishes her task fifteen minutes later, combing Kazuki's hair with proud movements as she asks Soushi—not Kazuki—about how it looks. Soushi looks unsure, and Maya can easily guesses what's fleeting in his head ("Even if I say it looks good to me, what if others think it's ridiculous?"), but smiles nonetheless when Soushi decides to be honest and tells Kazuki that even though he doesn't know a lot about hairstyles, he looks good anyway.
"Thank you, Toomi," Kazuki says before the two of them go home. Maya waves the gratitude ("Anytime, Kazuki-kun. Minashiro-kun, if you ever want to get that hair of yours cut, you can ask me anytime, alright?"), and watches them walk away. She watches how Kazuki seems happier and brighter after Soushi's homecoming, and feels warmth flooding her chest when Soushi's hand brushes Kazuki's.
It's silly, she thinks, to get happy over the boys' hands brushing against each other accidentally. But it's enough for her now—to watch them smile and laugh, because more than anyone in the island, they deserve to be happy. Maya doesn't mind, even if it pains her, just a little, that it's not her who makes Kazuki laugh so contentedly. She thinks it'll pain her more not to see them together like this. Perhaps, it's not Kazuki whom she's in love with anymore. Perhaps, it's the happiness she sees that she's in love with now.
Maya thinks Shouko did know about this, too, and the thought brings a smile to her face.
"You look more like Makabe Akane-san."
"Are you saying I look like a female?" Kazuki laughs softly, knowing full well that it's not what Soushi means. But Soushi backpedals, shaking his head fast and opening his mouth to explain, and Kazuki cuts him off, "I'm just joking, Soushi. Sorry."
Soushi closes his mouth. "No, I—" he sighs, looking embarrassed. "I should have known. I'm sorry."
"Dad says the same earlier when you were in the bathroom." Kazuki shrugs. He reaches out, and tugs Soushi's long ponytail gently to bring him lying down on the bed next to him. Soushi hesitates for a second before sitting down, and Kazuki hates that; hates that Soushi still feels awkward at times even though Kazuki knows that he's naturally an awkward person. He hates that Soushi's still tracing whatever it is that defines their bond carefully, as if scared that one misstep would break everything even when Kazuki knows that he knows that Kazuki will always forgive him whatever happens.
"Maybe I should get a haircut, too," Soushi mumbles the second time Kazuki tugs at his hair. Kazuki frowns, tugging for the third time before Soushi relents and lies down on his stomach next to him. The older boy slips down the hair tie, letting Soushi's ridiculously long hair splay everywhere: on Soushi's back, on the bed, on Kazuki's arm. He takes a handful of hair strands, brings them to his cheek to feel the silky tresses.
"Don't," he speaks into the hair in his hold, his tone close to lazy. "S'nice, like this." He pauses, thoughtful. "But if you think it's getting troublesome…"
"It's fine," Soushi answers quickly, and Kazuki knows he's trying not to make Kazuki upset, even though Kazuki won't, and he wants Soushi to stop thinking like that. He doesn't say anything though, instead letting his hand falls and shifts closer to the warmth that is Soushi, and sighs.
"Kazuki?" Soushi calls out, after a moment of easy silence that they're used to. Kazuki hums in a questioning tone, and he can almost hear Soushi's hesitance before the inquiry makes it out of the other boy's lips: "Why don't you want to cut your hair short?"
Kazuki is silent for a minute, for once hesitant in answering, but then he settles on his usual answer. "It's comforting, this way."
"Comforting?" Soushi's eyes are probing, searching, as if looking for any traces of scars Kazuki still has left from his disappearance to the Festum's side. He's found one, Kazuki thinks, and knows that he can't deny an explanation. He knows he shouldn't—lies rebuild the walls that's used to be between them faster than he can imagine—but if he tells Soushi, it means sharing what is left of his pains, and he knows it hurts Soushi, too. He doesn't want to hurt Soushi in any way—not ever.
"Tell me," Soushi whispers, and even though it doesn't sound like an order—not like the ones Soushi tells him in battlefield at all—Kazuki feels compliant to obey. He likes following Soushi, likes letting Soushi taking the decision knowing that Soushi knows what course best for them to take, for the island. The feeling never changes, for as long as he can remember. It's alright to hurt a little, Kazuki tells himself, and looks back into Soushi's eyes.
"I used to sit on the windowsill, when you were gone." He begins slowly, voice tight with barely reigned emotion. He's always come undone so easily when it comes to Soushi's-being-there and his-not-being-there, it's embarrassing sometimes. "The wind's nice, lets me pretend that it brings your voice and carries back my answers to you."
Soushi's face changes into a guilty expression, and Kazuki finds his hand and squeezes it once, not giving any chance for more apologies to come out of Soushi's mouth tonight. Instead, he continues on. "The wind always made the ends of my hair tickle my nape, back then. Since it's short." He laughs a little, and Soushi's expression softens. He brings their joined hands up to his forehead, pressing it to Soushi's knuckles gently. "I could feel it so sharply—it's like a bunch of nerves coming alive all of sudden. Like I was hyper aware of every single thing around me. I was—" he takes a breath, swallowing down a hitch down his throat at the memory, but Soushi's hand tightens around his. He looks up; eyes dry, but tensed nonetheless.
"I was painfully aware that you were—not here."
Soushi keeps silent, expression serious and gaze intense.
"In the end, I kind of associate them. Your-not-here and my hair tickling my nape, I mean. When it grows longer—" Kazuki picks a strayed strand of his hair, voice turning thoughtful. "It's comforting. It doesn't tickle my nape, and it tells me that you're here. That I haven't been dreaming. That I could fall asleep and wake up and you'd still be here."
"I'll be here," Soushi says, and it's silly because it sounds like a promise. Maybe it is. "I won't leave. Not again."
Kazuki laughs bitterly. "You'll never know, Soushi." He knows Soushi hates that; that he still can't get over the dread that Soushi might leave again someday and he has to wait for more agonizing years and years because he knows he will wait, no matter how long it takes for Soushi to come home, even if it destroys him in the process. He knows Soushi hates that he's still hurting, just like he knows Soushi knows that Kazuki hates it when he's being too careful threading their relationship. It's just the way they are, he supposes, but it's alright for now, because Soushi's hand is tight around his, and Soushi's long strands tickle his cheeks.
Someday, they will have to confront this. Someday, this could turn into a source of their problems. Someday, Soushi has to stop hesitating and Kazuki has to stop hurting.
He knows he needs time to heal. He knows Soushi needs time to figure out himself how to thread their relationship and strengthen their bond. He'll give Soushi all the time in the world for that, really. But in order for him to heal, he has to hurt both of them. A little. It's fine, too, because it's just like crossing—they share the same pain, the same feelings; and is that not amazing in itself?
Kazuki knows that when Soushi promises, he means it.
"Sleep well, Soushi."
He brushes Soushi's knuckles with his lips, watches in fascination when Soushi does the same, and smiles when Soushi smiles.
"Good night, Kazuki."
Tomorrow will be bright and fine, too.
A/N: AHAHAHA OH MY GOD MY GRAMMAR AND VOCABULARY IS A MESS. I DON'T EVEN. Confusing fic is confusing, this probably burnt your eyes out, didn't it guys? I AM SO SORRY ;A;
But but but. A review would be very, very nice. Constructive criticism would be amazingly, wonderfully nice, too. Flames will be ignored, because eh. I had the context I needed. :p
Thank you for reading!
-isumi 'kivic' and Ilde-