As everyone packed up to leave the studio, the drummer, Himuro, let out a cry of dismay when their lead vocalist turned down the invitation to go bar hopping. "What? Kazu kun you can't be serious! Come on, we're just going to grab a couple drinks and chat, you don't even have equipment to carry, lucky guy." He griped, looking rather disappointed that their carefully planned 'family time' was about to be disrupted.
Takao shrugged, digging his hands into his pockets. "Sorry guys, I gotta get home for something." He laughed sheepishly, inching towards the door.
The keyboardist, Imayoshi, grabbed his arm before he could pull a fast one. "Hooold it Kazu, you got yourself a girl or something didn't you?" He taunted, fixing a rather unnerving stare on his bandmate.
Such was the brief exchange after band practice, Takao quickly shuffling out the door despite protests from the rest of his gang. "Sorry guys, I'll make it up to you next time!"
It was fine, just once. More than anything else Takao needed to get home and clean up his apartment, Midorima was scheduled to come visit that afternoon after all. He was halfway through putting away all the shirts he'd swept onto the floor, when the same steady knocking as the previous night was heard.
With a panicked gasp, he bunched up whatever was left, threw it into the bottom of the closet and reminded himself not to open it. A quick glance in the mirror later, he raced to the door, breathing deeply before pulling it open.
"Hey there sensei~" He chirped happily, all too aware that his hand was shaking.
Midorima however didn't seem too focused on what he was doing, instead looking around Takao into the apartment. True, he was just a little disappointed, but in an odd way it helped him calm down. Perhaps the doctor really was just looking at his humble abode, with nothing else in mind.
With the slightest ever of beckons, Takao invited Midorima into the apartment, immediately rushing into the kitchen. "Sensei, care for some coffee?"
"If it's no trouble." The doctor muttered while stepping in. "How long have you been staying here?"
"Only about a week or more..." Came the cheerful reply, just as the smell of coffee wafted out of the kitchen. "Ah, but I've more or less decided to stay, for convenience." He added quickly, walking out with two mugs and handing Midorima the one that looked, well, much less personalized. The doctor, seemingly just as uneasy as Takao, took the mug with a quick word of thanks. The two sank back into their respective silence, save an occasional glance at each other.
"Should I show you around the place?" Takao eventually piped up, setting down his mug; perhaps embarrassed that Midorima kept staring at a visual-kei band poster he'd put up on the wall. Giving a quick nod, Midorima finished what was left of his coffee and got to his feet; Takao once again reminded himself how incredibly tall the other man was.
The rest of the 'tour' went fine, though Takao passed by his bedroom several times without going in; perhaps a guilty conscience wanting to make sure his clothes didn't tumble out of the closet in a tangle of sleeves. Soon enough though there was only that one room left unexplored, and Takao heaved a sigh before stepping aside, showing Midorima in.
He seemed calm, even as Takao kept his eyes nervously plastered on the closet door, watching for warning signs of his clothes breaching containment. Though, when Takao turned to look at the doctor again, he could have spit out his teeth; Midorima was reaching for one of the white paper cranes sitting innocuously on his bedside table.
The host rushed in, plucking the crane out of Midorima's immediate reach and hiding it behind his back; however, now he was sandwiched between Midorima, and the wall on the side of his bedside table, chuckling sheepishly. "Eh, ehehe... It's, uhh, this is nothing." He smiled, stuffing it into his back pocket while Midorima broke into a rare smile.
"It's a paper crane right?" The doctor said while taking a step back, allowing Takao to relax instead of backing up against the wall. "What's wrong with a paper crane."
'Oh there is sooooo much wrong with this one.' Takao thought to himself, the closet forgotten while he inched out of the close encounter. Obviously though he couldn't tell Midorima why exactly. The veiling excuse eventually came from the very first paper crane that he'd read.
"Well, it's a really girly hobby isn't it?" He started, gaze shifting to his feet in a guilty conscience he didn't know he had. "For a grown guy like me to be folding paper cranes and stuff. It's kind of... Weird." He shrugged it off with a laugh, but for that moment, he could vividly feel how Ryou must have when admitting such a thing; even if just on paper. Any other day he could have laughed it off, but there he was, stuck with a forced smile and the urge to run out of his own apartment.
"I think it's fine." Midorima whispered, just barely loud enough for Takao to catch what he said, and the shorter man looked up at his guest, pleasantly surprised. After giving his host a pat on the shoulder, Midorima walked over to the bedroom door. "If what you're doing helps you in some way, why would you care about what anyone else thinks."
"I guess you're right." He chuckled with a relieved sigh, heading back into the living room.
After a bit more conversation, Takao saw Midorima off at the door, sheepishly waving even after Midorima silently disappeared down the staircase. As tempted as he was to sit by his window and watch Midorima leaving, he figured that having had the doctor visit was plenty enough already, and settled for plopping on his bed, messy clothes long forgotten as he dug the paper crane out of his pocket.
He stared at it, a little smile on his face as he placed it carefully back on the bedside table.
"Thanks a bunch, Ryou."
Fin. 10 Jun 2013