Takao found himself incapable of total focus on anything. And it was clear from the uncharacteristically quiet dinner table that his family picked up on it.
The lot of them were a chatty family by nature but Kazunari had always been the most talkative. However, a rather unfortunate side effect of his charismatic nature was whenever he was in a normally lively setting just quiet and pushing around the food on his plate like he was now, the cheerfulness in the room seemed to disappear. It was a phenomenon he was aware of and usually tried to remedy by acting like his normal self until he was alone again but... sometimes... well, damn, sometimes he was simply too upset or didn't have the energy.
It was his second night home for winter break and about twelve days since he'd last spoken to Midorima—and that was the reason for his mood that night.
"Kazunari, please eat," his mother pleaded, breaking the silence. "You've lost so much weight at university."
"Alright," he mumbled. He didn't believe for a second that he'd physically changed at all, but he obeyed. His time spent in deep thought came to an end once the wave of nostalgia and instant happiness of a home-cooked meal after months of cafeteria food and snacks hit him. He actually did feel all the negativity leave him and he smiled heartily.
"I really missed Dad's cooking."
His mother let out a loud, dramatic sigh of relief and Kazunari saw his father smile a little. He couldn't see Kazumi's face, but he knew she was probably rolling her eyes in an attempt to hide her own sense of relief.
The mood at dinner lifted and it was a fairly normal night after that. Kazunari spent a large portion of dinner assuring his parents that his classes were going well. He and his little sister ended up taking an excessive amount of time cleaning the dining area and kitchen, using this parent-free moment to catch up. When they were discovered lounging around in an already spotless kitchen and Kazumi was told to go to bed, they continued their conversation in his room until she was busted a second time. Now he lay in his bed, still laughing to himself—she was more level-headed and a tad quieter than he was, but he was sure no one would ever manage to make him laugh as hard as his sister did.
When the residual chuckles eventually died down, however, he felt a profound sense of... loneliness. He felt he shouldn't—he was home after all—but the feeling was unmistakable. After the tenth call Midorima had undoubtedly screened, that loneliness had crept into his bed and laid with him every night.
'I don't want to get invested in you and then...'
He smiled to himself, almost amused with the stupidity of the last words he'd said. He was beyond attached. Clearly invested. Hell, he was in the thick of it now.
Isn't that what it usually means if you lose sleep over someone? he wondered.
Kazunari took out his phone and slid around to Midorima's contact information. He made a mental note to get a photo for it soon.
I'll have the chance to, right?
Shaking that thought off immediately, unwilling to succumb to negativity that severe just yet, he stared at Shin-chan's number. He had made a habit of doing that every night before going to sleep, always on the verge of pressing the call button but no longer taking action. Not since that tenth call, anyway. He sighed, set the phone down, and turned away in his sheets, waiting for the screen's light to fade off.
Just then his phone made a brief noise, the tone he'd assigned to new messages, and the screen went from dim to bright, lighting up the room.
He turned back to his phone, pulse suddenly racing, anxiously hoping it was—no, it was from Kazumi in the other room. He smiled at her message but then frowned.
Damn. I really hoped that was him.
Takao gritted his teeth and opened up Midorima's contact information again. Sighing hard, he gave in and pressed the call button. He listened to the phone ring, expecting to reach his voicemail yet again. Should I leave a message this time? I don't even know what I'd say...
"Do you have any idea what time it is?"
Oh—when did the ringing stop!? Takao shot straight up in his bed. "H-hello? Shin-chan?"
There was a heavy sigh on the other end, followed by, "Yes." When Takao still didn't say anything, he said, "What is it?"
"You called me at this hour for 'nothing'?"
"No, not like that! What I mean is—well... I wasn't expecting you to pick up."
There was a short silence on Midorima's part. "Well, I did this time. Why are you calling?"
"I..." Takao struggled to force what he felt through a filter. He'd realized by now that he and Shin-chan were both the kind of people far too sensitive to words—Midorima sometimes taking things too literally and Takao being the type to over-analyze every syllable.
Midorima sighed on the other end again. He could tell he was annoyed now, so Takao sped up his efforts.
"I..." Takao closed his eyes and took a deep, measured breath. "Why didn't you answer all those times that I called? Were you that angry?"
"I was calling to apologize. You had to know that." Takao bit his lip in frustration. "I wanted to see you. And... and talk to you. About school, about break. About us."
"And what about now?"
"Are you calling to apologize?"
"O—of course!" Takao felt anger flare up in him. "Of course I am, why else would I call you at twelve in the morning?!"
"I can understand being angry at me for what I said but... at least give me the chance to say sorry! I really, really don't like being ignored!"
Shintarou's first two days home had been a bit stressful. While the familiarity of his house and the warm greeting from his sister and mother had helped considerably, the aura coming from his father since he'd arrived had been somewhat... intense. Shintarou realized the man only meant well when he reminded him to focus on his studies, knew that it was fatherly worry that caused him to pry into every detail of his semester. Unfortunately, knowing that hardly made it less tiresome and when he'd finally gotten away from an after-dinner lecture gone extremely long and settled into bed... his phone had rung.
Shintarou would have been surprised at the name that came up if he hadn't been so profoundly annoyed. Really, at midnight? Of course, when he picked up, the fool stumbled around his words and took long breaks of silence. And of course, Shintarou was still mad about the last time they'd seen each other. So it wasn't until that last sentence that Midorima thought past the anger.
"I really, really don't like being ignored!"
Takao's voice had strained significantly in that statement. At first, Midorima thought the boy had some nerve to raise his voice at him while calling to supposedly 'apologize' but—damn. He was right in a way.
"Takao, I... didn't mean to ignore you. It is true that I initially didn't respond out of anger, but..." Midorima licked his lips, uncomfortable putting this into words. "After some time, I grew nervous that you were not calling to apologize after all."
"What? What else would I have been calling for?"
Midorima sat up in his bed and leaned against the headboard. "I worried that you had... given in to your doubts. That you might have been calling to tell me you'd made a mistake... with me." Midorima pursed his lips. "It was too much of a risk for me to answer you, knowing that was a possibility."
The two of them were silent for some time before Takao sighed lightly.
"I told you I liked you, though... don't be stupid, Shin-chan."
"It's hardly stupid! Do you even remember what you said to me? You were so certain I would change my mind, it was as if my actual thoughts had no bearing." Midorima stared down at his hand. "You don't trust me at all."
"I... That's fair." Takao sighed. "I really hate having this sort of conversation over the phone. I need to see your face. I'm... I'm really sorry, Shin-chan. I didn't even think of it like that. I still hadn't, actually." He cursed under his breath, inaudible to Midorima's ears. "That was really shitty of me."
"It's fine," Midorima forced out, not feeling the sentiment one bit.
"It's not fine. You have every right to be mad. And to be worried I was calling to..." As the words trailed off, Midorima found himself wishing this conversation was in person, as well. "But I do trust you. I'm just... scared as hell."
"It's just... experience. Experience taught me not to expect much from people." Takao paused. "But I can't do that with you. I can't... decide how you feel for myself. Especially not when you're right there, showing me and telling me differently. I'm sorry, Shin-chan."
"It's fine." The silence on the other end seemed mournful, almost, which... Shintarou was glad he'd apologized, but he didn't want him to wallow in it. "...Besides," he started, clearing his throat and already blushing at what he was about to say. "After what happened when we last saw each other... there really shouldn't be a question of whether or not I find you attractive."
The silence persisted for another second, leaving Midorima concerned that his little jest had fallen flat. That worry was washed away, however, by the flood of laughter that bubbled out of his phone.
"I—wow, I really didn't expect you to say that!" Takao said, through more laughs. "And shut up about that, anyway..."
"Why? Do you find it embarrassing?" Midorima found that impossible to believe.
"Well, yeah, of course I do! I came so quickly, it was sad..."
Midorima let out a strangled noise, startled by such an upfront statement. "Ah. Right."
"Ha ha, there's no way you forgot that! You even said, 'that was fast, wasn't it?'"
"Y-yes, I remember, Takao. There's no need to get into it in detail..."
Takao laughed again. Damn, leave it to this little imp to turn his own mocking phrase into a weapon used to make him uncomfortable. Once the chuckling subsided, Takao sighed again, sounding relieved.
"Next time, I'll last much longer, you know?" Midorima's ears perked and he felt a chill as Takao's voice dipped in tone but kept its playfulness. "It usually takes a lot more work to get me off. Do you think you're up to the task, Shin-chan?"
He... he needs to stop talking like that, Midorima thought, feeling those last words go straight to his dick.
Holding onto his composure, he answered, "There won't be a next time—"
"Unless we're dating, right?"
"...Essentially." Midorima hoped it wasn't obvious how caught off-guard he'd been by that interruption. He really hadn't... expected Takao to be the one who acknowledged that problem first.
"That reminds me, Shin-chan. You and I haven't gone on a proper date yet."
"I—I thought you said you weren't interested in that."
"I changed my mind. Pretty recently, too. I'm beginning to think it might be kind of nice."
"Ah... I see." Does this mean...?
"All of it. All of it sounds nice."
"All of what?"
Takao chuckled. "Don't worry about it! So, where are we going for our first date?"
Kazunari took a deep breath to try to still his nerves. I really shouldn't be nervous, he thought. He'd been on dates before. You meet somewhere, get something to eat or drink, chat for a bit, maybe kiss, and go your separate ways. Most of his hook-ups began with dates, after all. And it wasn't as if he was meeting this person for the first time, so why on Earth couldn't he stop fidgeting?
Takao glanced at his phone again—1:47. They were supposed to meet at 2 o'clock. He'd been waiting for twenty minutes now.
Shit. Way too early. He'd been there long enough that the servers were now giving him less than happy looks. I guess you can't take up a booth by yourself and only order water for this long without that happening. At least there are two menus at the table so people know why I'm sitting around... Is it obvious I'm waiting for a date? No.
...No, it has to be obvious—someone just waiting for a friend doesn't check the time as often as I am. He glanced down again. 1:50. And... fuck, why did I put this much effort into my clothes?!
Originally, he'd put on a comfortable pair of jeans and a band shirt, with a hoodie for good measure. Then Kise had texted him:
oh my god, you're going on a date with him?! finally! what are you going to wear?
And it had thrown him for a loop. Every time he'd seen Midorima, he'd been in school clothes or home clothes—things put together for comfort. He realized Midorima had never seen him, like, try before, and suddenly he was digging through his closet, praying he hadn't left those jeans that made his ass look perfect at home by accident. After what felt like forever, he finally settled on that perfect pair of dark jeans, tucked neatly into his nicest pair of boots, and a black, form-fitting V-neck t-shirt. Once he was satisfied, he added a simple, silver chain (and saddled in front of his bathroom mirror for a quick selfie—then sent it to Kise with the caption 'nothing special'). Knowing he looked so damn good underneath made wearing his winter coat a lot less annoying than usual.
But now, it just seemed like... like... just too much. He'd even put cologne on.
Damn. And after all that I still got here a half hour early! Just as he checked the time again, however, Takao heard a familiar voice.
"I'm meeting someone."
He whipped his head up from his phone and toward the entrance where Midorima Shintarou stood, conversing with the host. Takao's heart leapt for two reasons: one was because his date was finally here and the other was because the boy looked incredible, even more so than usual. Midorima wore a pair of dark fitted pants and a grey sweater over a white dress shirt. What made Takao relieved was the presence of a navy blue tie underneath the sweater and black oxford dress shoes—he wasn't the only one who was trying. Takao smirked to himself as he waved his hand at Midorima, getting his attention. As Midorima excused himself and began walking toward him, Takao felt all of the nervousness disappear and finally turn into excitement.
What the hell was I so nervous for? It's Shin-chan, after all. He smiled openly as the boy took his seat across from him. Midorima smiled back at him, softly, and the two of them sat there for some time, just smiling at one another. Takao blushed a bit and let out a laugh.
"You look well," Midorima said.
"You look good," Takao replied. "Seriously."
Midorima blushed. "As do you. You look very, ah..." The words seemed to fall away from his lips as Midorima took a good look at him. Takao smiled even more.
It was just then that their server arrived, very abruptly asking if they knew what they'd like to drink. The two of them ordered their drinks and Takao (after checking that Midorima was interested, as well) ordered an appetizer he'd been eyeing for the past half hour—at this point he knew exactly what he wanted to eat.
"She was rather rude," Midorima commented.
"Ah, no, she was probably just over-eager. I've been here for a while."
"Long enough that she rushed to take our order?"
"Y—" Takao blushed at the accidental admission. "Yeah."
Midorima scoffed and Takao knew he saw him hide an amused smile.
"I can't believe it's been a whole month since I last saw you," he mused. Takao gave a warm smile then, so glad to be near Midorima again. "I really missed you, you know?"
A blush enveloped Midorima's cheeks and he mumbled, "I missed you, too."
"Heh, I know it's the traditional thing to do but there's really no need to walk me to my dorm." Takao snickered. "It's way corny."
The chill winter air bit at Midorima's ears and fingertips. He flexed his fingers, wishing he could grab a hold of Takao's hand. They were already near Takao's building, which meant the night was about to come to a definitive end. It had been... rather successful, as far as he could tell. Far more fun than any other date he had ever been on. Once Shuutoku's B block came into view, Midorima found himself feeling disappointed. He didn't want this to end. That was the actual reason he was walking Takao to his dorm now; to prolong it for as long as possible.
"We're here," Midorima stated as the two of them stopped in front of the building's entrance.
"Yeah." Takao chuckled. "What, no good night kiss?"
"We're in public, Takao."
"What happened to doing all you can?" Takao teased, laughing further. Then he sighed, putting on an overly disappointed tone. "And here I was thinking it was a perfect date."
The gears in Midorima's mind churned and he reached out, pulling Takao toward him at the waist.
"Heh. What are you—"
Midorima kissed Takao, closing his eyes and dying of relief inside as he did so. The kiss started as gentle but firm and Takao's arms went from uselessly dangling at his sides to holding onto Midorima's arms, pulling him in as close as possible. They closed off their first kiss in almost a month but instead of pulling away, they began another one. Takao sighed against Midorima's mouth and tightened his grip on Midorima's coat. Midorima continued to bend forward, following Takao's lips as the shorter boy's knees went weak and failed to properly support him. When Midorima did finally pull back, Takao's cheeks were red and his eyes were dazed as he stared up at him.
"...So it was a perfect date," he commented softly.
Takao closed the door to his dorm lightly, then leaned against it. He felt his face warm up as he failed to fight back a giddy smile.
That was incredible. He checked the time for the first time in hours—it was ten o'clock at night. How had they done that?
How had they spent eight hours together and made it feel like no time at all?
All that time... and Takao still found himself wishing it hadn't ended. He could do absolutely nothing to keep the smile off of his face.
Just as he reached behind him and began fumbling with the lock, there were three knocks at the door, sudden and loud enough that they actually startled Takao out of his post-date stupor. Backing up to open the door, he never bothered to check the peephole or ask who it was; he already knew.
Midorima stood in the doorway, ears red from the cold and not from any sort of embarrassment, for once. "I... I almost forgot to ask you." His face wore a determined look but his eyes read as vulnerable. Takao had no clue what this was about but his breath caught in his throat at how important it felt.
"Ask me what?"
"Takao... I like you. A lot. And you like me, as well. And... and I know you have reservations about entering a committed relationship but... after our talk over break and after today... today went so well and I have to ask you."
Takao's breath caught in his throat.
Midorima swallowed hard.
"Will you go out with me?"
Takao's eyes were wide—he had completely forgotten about this part. His heart was almost still at the expectant look on Midorima's face. Takao's head tilted in exasperation as he let out a soft chuckle and smiled, totally taken aback by such a silly question.
"Yes. Of course."
This idiot. As if I could ever say no after all of this.
*pant* *wheeze* Here's chapter 20. Jeez... this one took a lot out of me lol. More than any of the other recent chapters, this one probably went through the most rewrites (from material originally written about a year ago, that is).
It's been a long time since I last updated! I kinda ran out of steam towards the end of things with this one (it's a bit obvious, unfortunately -_-), I just wasn't super concerned about the details of the date, you know? Not when there's so much else to get into (though I do apologize)... and I guess now's a good a time as any:
- Questions is going to be 30 chapters in total (possibly 31 if I accidentally pace things too slowly or awkwardly).
- It will be finished this summer. (As in I won't be stretching the next 9 chapters over the rest of the year.) I would guesstimate mid- to late-August for the end of the story.
-There's still a lot left plot-wise, so expect a lot less filler and really long chapters.
- Chapter 21 starts with smut! :D
I hope you enjoyed the chapter! Leave a review, a PM, or bug me on Tumblr!
See you next time!