A/N: So I wrote some Spiritshipping because I love them and hnngggASDFGHJKLJHGFDS. Yup. Here you go.
This takes place post-series, when Judai is travelling the world and such, and Johan has an apartment of his own someplace, and Judai visits him.
NOTE - when Johan is speaking, if his words are in italics then he's talking in his native language. If they're NOT in italics, he's speaking Japanese.
Hugs and goodbyes had been exchanged, and Judai was already in the doorway, turning to leave, when Johan finally made a decision he'd been pondering for the entire nine days (six hours, forty-two minutes, twenty-one seconds, and counting) that Judai had spent at his apartment.
"Judai, wait!" he exclaimed, taking a step closer, one arm outstretched, as Judai stopped and turned to face him again. "Before you go..." Johan drifted off as he met Judai's gaze. He knew those eyes better than he knew his own, brown and dark but still looking as though the sun was shining behind them. And they were the quickest way to see what was in his heart at any given moment. Although his body showed no outwards signs of impatience or exasperation, his eyes were so filled to the brim with wanderlust that just the one glance was enough to make Johan reconsider his long-pondered decision. He averted his gaze.
Just one sentence. One small sentence, expressing one not-so-small feeling, that was all Johan wanted to say. But it could change things, it could change everything, and was that really fair to Judai, who had a hectic enough life as it was? Would Johan become just another weight on the shoulders of the world-traveling, unknown hero? What if he needs me to just be his best friend, what if more than that is asking too much? he thought worriedly. It took him a moment to realize that his thoughts had slipped into his native language instead of Japanese, which prompted him to calm himself down, now. Panicking would do no good.
"What is it, Johan?" came Judai's voice. The words almost made Johan wince, but the tone of voice in which they were said instead made him look up and meet those eyes again. That yearning for adventure in them had all but disappeared, replaced by curiosity and confusion. There was also a bit of concern in there, which Johan supposed was probably because he never usually hesitated like this; his mouth had a direct connection to his heart most of the time, much like Judai's.
Just as the first glance had triggered a storm in Johan's mind, this second glance cleared it. Whatever happened after Johan uttered this sentence, he knew that he and Judai had a bond stronger than most. They could prevail over any difficulty, together or separately, in the name of their friendship. With a clarity of mind that reminded him of his and Judai's very first meeting, Johan looked his best friend in the eye and said, "I love you."
… The confused look in Judai's eyes didn't go away. In fact, it rather increased. "...Sorry, what was that?"
"I said, I love y – " Johan stopped abruptly, brow furrowed in confusion. He was... talking in his native language? How did that happen? he thought, making a conscious effort to think the thought in Japanese to get himself back in the right mindset.
He flashed an apologetic grin and tried again: "S-sorry, what I meant to say was: I – " He cut himself off again, but this time his pulse was quickening, his eyes going wide in horror. How... what... what are the words? How do you say I love you in Japanese? His thoughts had slipped back into his native language as his brain went into panic mode, wracking his memories for some little reminder of the phrase, and coming up utterly blank. His heart was pounding almost painfully in his chest.
"Johan? Johan, are you alright?" Judai said, a hint of panic in his voice. He dropped his bag to the floor (to which Pharaoh protested loudly, but neither of the boys paid him any mind) and cleared the space between himself and Johan in two large steps.
Johan felt Judai's hand on his arm, and it was like an anchor, bringing him back down to earth when the whirlwind of his thoughts was carrying him away into nothingness. He felt his hands go still (when had they started shaking?) and he felt his vision clear up and go back into focus (when had everything gone blurry?). The first thing he sought out with his gaze were Judai's eyes, warm and chocolate and shining and concerned. Another wave of emotion assaulted him at the sight, and he felt pressure building up in his throat. He opened his mouth, and the sound that fell out of it was... a laugh? A sob? He couldn't quite tell which, but it relieved the pressure.
Judai's hand tightened ever so slightly on his arm. I'm here. Please tell me what's wrong, said the gesture, no words needed. Johan simultaneously felt more calm and more emotional. He took deep breaths, and tried his best to organize his thoughts and string some words together.
"I don't know... I don't know how... how say... these words, I can't... how you... how to say..." He felt a blush creeping up on his face at his stumbling speech – his Japanese hadn't been this broken in years.
Judai gave a little comforting smile, which grew into a grin. "Hey, it's okay man, don't be embarrassed! If I knew more than one language, I'd definitely have trouble keeping them straight in my head!"
The grin was contagious. Johan found himself smiling too. It lightened his heart and cleared his thoughts a bit. He managed to finally create a coherent sentence. "I want to say, I love you, but I don't know how."
A thoughtful look appeared on Judai's face. He took his hand away from Johan's shoulder to strike a thinking pose that had Johan stifling a giggle. "Hm... maybe try describing what it is? And maybe I'll understand anyway, even if you don't use the exact words?"
He smiled encouragingly, and Johan nodded. Now, what to say, what to say... Maybe start off simple? "You are my best friend." Yes. Now, more. "You are... special – no, precious! – to me." As he spoke, he kept his eyes firmly on Judai's face, searching for some hint of realization, waiting for that moment at which he understood. "You... give me... feelings... in my heart." He put a hand over his chest, and winced a bit at the awkward phrase, but still gazed intently at Judai.
The brunette was looking at him with the same focused intensity, nodding at each phrase to show he understood. At the word "feelings", his head tilted to the side. "Feelings?" he inquired.
Johan bit his lip and tried to think of a way to expand on that word. "Feelings of..." he drifted off, trying to find an adequate phrase with which to complete that sentence that could fully describe how he felt about Judai. His voice drifted into a murmur as he searched his Japanese vocabulary for the words. "Feelings of... happy..." A smile lingered on his face.
He clenched the hand that was still over his heart. "Feelings of... heart pounding..." It hadn't slowed down since he had called out to Judai in the doorway.
His eyes wandered over Judai's face, eventually returning to his eyes. "Feelings of... your sunlight eyes..." Eyes which, with each passing word Johan whispered, contained less confusion, but no less intensity.
On an impulse, Johan reached up a hand, reached towards Judai's face, let his fingertips drift over soft hair and a warm cheek, traced the line of his jaw. "Feelings of... touch..." He let his hand linger on Judai's warm skin for a moment, and then began to lower it slowly back to his side, his gaze lowering with it.
With a sudden yet deliberate move, Judai caught Johan's hand in his own. Johan's gaze snapped up to meet Judai's, and if he thought his heart couldn't pound any faster, he was wrong, because the look Judai was giving him... intense and piercing, like he was the only person in the world. Johan opened his mouth, and the only words that would come out were his native language – "I love you." Even though it wasn't Japanese, he saw that Judai was beginning to understand. "I love you, I love you," Johan repeated, the words putting a little smile on his face.
"I love you," Judai said, his voice quiet with realization. Suddenly he gained an uncharacteristically hesitant look, and dropped Johan's hand. "I think... I think that's the phrase you're looking for. I love you."
Johan grinned. "I love you," he said, trying it out on his tongue. It felt right. He'd definitely heard it before, but it must have just not stuck in his brain very well. "I love you." Oh. Right. There was a slightly deeper purpose to this than a Japanese lesson. He looked at Judai...
...whose gaze was now on the ground. Johan's excited grin faded a bit. "Judai?" he said, and the brunet looked back up at him in response... and for once, he couldn't read those eyes. There were so many emotions flickering in them that Johan just couldn't tell what Judai was thinking. It would have been disconcerting at any time, but now, especially so. It made him suddenly feel very self-conscious.
"Uh... So... that's what I wanted to say," Johan said, averting his gaze, folding his hands together, and tapping his fingers nervously on each other. "So... you can... leave... if you want... um..."
"Feelings of heart-pounding," Judai said quickly, the words falling from between his lips like drops of water. Anything Johan might have been about to say was abruptly torn from his throat as he froze, looking at Judai. "And feelings of happy, and sunlight eyes..." the brunet continued. Johan winced a bit as Judai parroted his awkward, broken Japanese back to him. But he wasn't done yet: "...and touch."
Judai reached out an uncertain hand towards Johan, whose eyes widened. Does he mean... The hand reaching out to him was rather directionless and awkward, so with a smile, Johan took it, lacing their fingers together.
Judai stared at their joined hands for what seemed like an eternity, unknown things whirling behind his eyes, when he finally continued his thought. "I... also have... those feelings. Is that...?" He drifted off into uncertainty.
"Is that love?" Johan said, completing his thought for him. Judai nodded. Johan smiled at him, but shook his head. "I can't... I can't tell you that, Judai. It is for me, but for you... I think... you have to decide it for yourself."
Judai nodded, a deeply contemplative look on his face. Johan would have backed off, given him space and time to think, but Judai wouldn't release his hand, so... he waited. What else could he do? For Judai, he would wait until the end of time. He tried not to think about anything in the thick silence, but little niggling thoughts began creeping into his head, little "what if"s and imagined scenarios that ate away at the foundation of his certainty, until –
Judai rushed forward, closing the space between them (when had they gotten that close?) and kissed him.
Johan swore his heart stopped.
It was a short kiss: simple, and chaste, and over far too soon. Even after Judai pulled away, Johan's head was still spinning with sensations of warm lips and smooth skin and the brush of eyelashes against his cheek –
And now Judai was smiling, his sunlight eyes fixed only on Johan as he murmured, "I decided."
If Judai was like the sun, in this moment, then Johan could only imagine himself as the moon, reflecting all that light right back at him as he grinned at Judai's simple declaration. No more words were necessary, in any language – and Johan thanked the heavens for that.