He let Dororo's head fall into his chest, bumping softly against the metal link on his belt. As soon as Dororo realized what was happening, and that Giroro meant it, he threw his arms around him and dug in, trying to hide himself while at the same time beginning to shake with small vibrations reverberating all throughout him. Giroro, mortified, thought he'd hurt him again, when he heard muffled gasping. Slowly, oh-so-slowly, Dororo's shoulders were shaking in uneven time. He dully realized that salt water was beginning to dampen the strap of his belt, and then sharply straightened up when Dororo didn't stop. After a moment, he gradually bent over him again, this time his head gently resting on top of Dororo's. How much uncharted territory will I be forced to wander through in one day? He wondered with great stress. Then as he relaxed, well, it's okay...I...I think I owe it to him. He stayed still, not really knowing what to do, except being absolutely certain that he must stay there.

Giroro, the eye at the center of a storm, calmly ran his fingers over his back, trying to distract himself from any thoughts in his head and everything going on in his mind. He spent as much time as he could analyzing the sky, the grass, his tent- anything was a good enough distraction as Dororo's quiet sobs died into his chest. He attempted to pet the Lance-Corporal gently, in a supposedly reassuring way, playing his fingers clumsily over the ocean blue skin under his touch. When that did nothing, he instead held his fingertips along Dororo's delicate ribcage, which housed a powerful, yet frenziedly beating, heart. Giroro simply let him get it all out, and quietly tuned out everything but his breathing, which was sputtering and hot against his chest.

After several minutes of Giroro exploring the space between Dororo's shoulder blades, and Dororo's cries becoming more and more subdued, Giroro realized he'd stopped.

"Uh...you going to be okay?"

Dororo didn't say anything. He just pushed his head a bit further into his arms.

"If you aren't okay, I can stay here for awhile." Giroro's mind drifted to his tent, his guns, he had thought he should reload the ammunition tonight... suddenly it was all so incredibly unimportant. "Please...just tell me..."

"...I-I think so. I haven't cried like that in awhile."

"I thought you got teary-eyed all the time?"

"That is correct, but it feels better t-to cry..." his voice trailed off, a lone, unfinished note hanging in the air. Giroro roused him by touch, tilting his head (Why did it feel funny to just hold his face...) upwards.

"To cry...?" He prompted him softly. Dororo looked away, suddenly infinitely times more uncomfortable than he'd been seconds before, his face every so palely pink in his hand.

"To cry...y'know. With someone... important."


He stopped himself for a whole second, kept himself perfectly straight and unmoving, for a good whole second!, before his eyes dilated without him being able to control it and his serious mask was shattered and he was all shock and relief and embarrassment and...joy? Was that joy? Oh fuck, that better nOT BE JOY, OH GOD DAMN IT, IT IS SO JOY, IT'S NICE AND BUBBLY JOY and Giroro couldn't help it anymore, he instantly grabbed Dororo tighter around the sides and squeezed him, with the blue amphibian innocently squeaking in euphoria, before returning the gesture. His heart pounded, but in a good way, and this time he didn't fight it. Suddenly courageous, Giroro tried to lean forward into Dororo, but lost his footing and began to fall. Quickly they both tried to untangle by simultaneously tugging each other in opposite directions, but this just lead to them falling over anyway, arms falling apart from the other and bodies clashing into the earth. Dororo fell roughly on his side, and Giroro slammed down a foot away on his back. They made no attempt to reclaim their footing, though, and instead laid out parallel for awhile, not speaking but just gasping for breath as their wind came back to them, and calming their nerves. Then, at last, Giroro broke the settled silence with a rumbling chuckle. It grew into a real laugh, hearty and solid, and Dororo mimicked it innocently, laughing lightly and happily.

"Haha...Hah, oh god, you've always been so soft...Dororo...I knew that, but that was more than ever before...but-but- you're right. It's better with someone- someone-"

Giroro's words trailed off, and he slowly turned his head over to face Dororo head on. His peaceful expression and warm eyes left him feeling soft and cozy laying in the cold grass on the hard packed Earth below. He felt himself even break and smile, but didn't regret it. Dororo just lay there, as innocent as ever with a comforting and accepting look hovering in him, and his body slightly curled, facing Giroro, with one hand under his head and the other on his arm. He could almost see the Zeroro from so many years ago, laying there and listening to him talking about his newest train model or some lecture his brother had given him, eyes bright with attention even though he'd surely talked for hours. It seemed it had always been that Dororo was there, always, listening and comforting and helping and...being his friend. Always. Without question.

Giroro tentatively reached out his right hand, which happened to be his hurt one, and hovered it near Dororo. He recoiled, unsure, then pressed it forward again and claimed Dororo's hand with a rough touch.

"-someone, y'know, that's important." Dororo watched him awhile, taking in his words. He seemed to believe him now, but...at the last moment his expression crumpled and he looked away.

"It never felt like I was important, when we were kids..." Dororo whispered. He seemed almost unwilling to let the words come, to spoil everything, and yet the statement felt so loaded with memories it must've been impossible to subdue.

"You haven't been listening at all!" Giroro scoffed harshly, pretending to be angry. "You've always been important to me!" He pointed at himself with his thumb, with his one eye closed and his bandages bloody and ragtag, he certainly looked the part of the idiot today, didn't he? Oh well... if today was going to be the day he was stupid, he'd use it up as much as he could. For his next idiotic move, he pushed his face up to Dororo's and bumped his head against his forehead. There wasn't much that could top that, was there?

"...Always..." Giroro mumbled, eyes closed and thoughts lost again between memories of playing at Zeroro's house and getting bandaged by him after he beat someone up at school, just behind the nostalgia of staying up late watching cartoons at his house and spending weeks camping together, doing survival training just like his brother did, or eating crackers in his kitchen as his mom busied and fused around the house, Keroro making stupid jokes or pulling Pururu along as usual, but Zeroro talking and laughing when he wasn't listening. The memories flooded him, and it was all happy ones, leaving him relaxed and carefree and he'd just be okay with this moment lasting a long, long time, too.

"G-Giroro?" Dororo's voice came murmuring at him, from inches away. Sometimes he forgot how soothing that voice was, and from so close by it washed through him warmly.

"Yeah?" He waited a minute to respond, he was too happy to think clearly. He didn't care, about anything else. He just knew this was a happy moment, a good moment, one no one could ruin.

"...Thank you." Dororo's voice was saturated with gratitude. He had really been affected, and he was truly happy, too. I made him happy, he thought, I really did it. He's happy because of me, I really made him happy...

"No, Dororo-" Giroro rasped, opening his eyes. Bravery shot through him like liquid courage and he remembered how idiotic he was being today... well, he could top it one more time. He brought his hand up, and brushed Dororo's mask down, watching his face with quiet intention.

"-...Thank you."

He closed the space between them and Dororo responded briefly with a clash of shock and confusion, before pushing back with startling eagerness. However, almost instantaneously, Dororo pulled away with one violent movement, breathing quickly and intensely, his hands somehow already around Giroro's face, forcing him back away again. Regret drove through Giroro like a blade, and he cursed as loud and as long as he could in his head. Fool! Idiot! Pathetic! You thought that would work? You've ruined everything! God damn excuse of a friend! How're you going to fix this? Stop, no, stop, STOP, STOP, STOP-! He sharply took in a breath, and bit back a thousand apologies as he managed to cram out,

"FuckI'msorryIdidn'tmeantodothatitwasaJOKEareal lybadjokeOKI'msosorrydamnitIjust-"

...But it seemed that this time, he didn't mind letting Dororo cut him off.