tell me a story.
i don’t have any to tell.
(you wouldn’t believe me if i did.)
you work too hard.
take a break, reiji-sama. you’ll push yourself too far...
you don’t have time for breaks. he knows that more than anyone and yet he pushes your homework aside, takes a seat next to you, brushes a loose strand of hair out off of your face and smiles at you. he always knows everything. he knows how to put you at ease, and you smile back at him, eyelashes batting against the top of your cheeks. he thinks you’re fragile. you know he does.
he thinks if you work too hard you’ll crack, shatter into a million tiny little fragments. you’re not that fragile.
if anything, it’s him. he's the soft one; your estate gardener’s oldest son, eyes sparkling, hair pulled back in a ponytail, you almost can’t tell that he had been bedridden for the past week. he took it upon himself to be a caretaker for you, the son of the esteemed suwa family, a family of traditional japanese dancers, but you find yourself caring more about his health and safety than you do for yourself.
because he gets sick a lot.
the way his hair glows in the sunlight glistening through the large bay window makes it look like rose gold, and those light grey eyes of his are enough to make your heart tremble and shudder in an irregular beat. you should not feel this way. you are his friend, his best friend, you aren’t afraid that he’s pretending to care, it’s not that--it’s just. you’re fearful to start something that he may not want.
you're so afraid of losing something you love,
that you refuse to show your love to anything.
you refuse to let anyone get too close. you're young, yes, but even you know the reality of the world you live in. keep love an arms length away.
it’s almost as if sometimes he can read your mind. you’re thankful that he can’t really, would he shy away from you if he knew how many times you’d been tempted to reach out and take his hand? but he can always tell when you're upset, when you're exhausted, when you're happy. you're happy quite a lot, but even if you don't show it, he always turns to you and smiles gently, you're enjoying yourself, aren't you reiji-sama?
it's him and his younger brother that make your childhood feel somehow normal. if they weren't there, you'd stay up every evening, working through the night, your parents would be concerned with how little you ate, how little you slept, how little you had fun and acted like a child. but with the brothers there, you joined sports clubs with them in the most prestigious schools that your parents sent the three of you too--you had singing lessons after stride practice, dance lessons after soccer practice, you name it.
you still worked hard, but your parents could rest easy knowing that the oldest son of their beloved gardener was looking over you like a smiling, kind, pink haired guardian angel. he'd come to voice lessons with you, sit next to the piano as you stood beside him, singing scales and lilting out melodies like a songbird, and when he began to sing with you, that nagging feeling of your heart being in your throat came back.
the first time he sang with you was.....
you always have a habit of blaming yourself for everything that goes wrong, even if you weren't the reason for it.
when shizuma mayuzumi was injured and ended up in a wheelchair, losing the loss of his legs for a while, you blamed yourself. he was the calculated one, he was careful, you were more reckless, if anyone deserved to be wheelchair ridden, it was you. you can't even remember what happened, you just remember spinning on your heels at the sound of a cry, and you saw him on the ground, eyes filled with anguish. why did you want to cry too? you rushed over to him, dropped to your knees at his side and surveying the damage, the hospital was quickly called and on their way.
you didn't leave his side. you couldn't. he would've done the same for you.
instead you remember trying to make him as comfortable as possible, balling up your hoodie and tucking it under his head as a pillow, since you couldn't move him. he was too hurt, his legs might've been broken--stride is a sport that rips you down to your lowest level of defenses. it's a mix of track and field and street running, parkour, and getting injured is a very large reality. but you didn't expect him to ever get hurt.
in the sun, his hair shined that rose gold color again and you choked back a sob as he tried to reassure you, i'll be alright, reiji-sama. it hurts...but i'll...i'll be okay..
you ran your fingers through his hair, nodded weakly at him as the sound of sirens echoed in the distance. "i'm not going to let you go alone, shizuma! i'm not going to leave you! okay?" of course he smiled.
perhaps he's not really as
as you first thought.
but you kept your promise, you stayed by his side, everywhere he went, you went, and vice versa. you wheeled him into singing lessons with you, and that was when he opened his mouth to sing, effortlessly slipping into harmonies and as if you hadn't been emotionally wound up about him in the first place, this had not helped it. you wanted to admit your feelings, you wanted to let him know how much you cared, how much you loved him, how he would always be your closest friend, but you wanted more, and yet you continued to sing, softening your voice so you could hear his more clearly.
some people bring out the worst in you, others bring out the best, and then there are those remarkably rare, addictive ones who just bring out the most.
of e v e r y t h i n g .
they make you feel so alive that you’d follow them to the ends of the earth.
you always have stories.
you already know all the good ones.
(the only good ones i have are the ones with you.)
out of all the sports you played, you chose the one that shizuma could still participate in. he was wheelchair bound for a year, unable to walk properly from being so badly injured, but he always could read people and the position of relationer in stride was perfectly suited for him.
its not that you run stride because you love it. it's always been, and will always be that you run stride because you love a certain someone. it's not hard to tell, and you're sure anyone on the team picks it up immediately. you try to be subtle, you try not to make things uncomfortable between him and yourself, you're best friends. that's what you have to be, and for your best friend? you love stride.
saisei academy was the best of the best. it had the most impressive facilities, the most knowledgeable staff, it was like a school created for students pursuing stride as well as other entertainment forms. a strange thing, saisei was--the stride team was not only a stride team, but also an ever changing band by the name of galaxy standard.
its because of your new team at saisei and the excitement around stride that all you ever want to do is run and listen to shizuma sing. and eat pork buns, but that's sort of a well kept secret. your secret glutton is under-wraps to everyone outside of your team, and sometimes you're embarrassed to know that they go all over town in order to buy you something to eat if they're feeling especially generous. the whole team is so kind to you, and it's not long until you're being named captain, and on top of that, lead singer of galaxy standard and you've never felt more loved in your entire life.
you're not a social person, really. you've always sort of been an outcast, you've pushed yourself too far when it comes to schoolwork, extracurricular activities, it's only because of shizuma that you're even functioning properly and getting enough food and sleep. that must be something the rest of the team picked up on quickly, shizuma's younger brother, who you grew up with but weren't as close with as you were shizuma, picks you up pork buns and sweets on the regular, and you're sure he does it because he knows you're not even thinking about food. not until its in front of you, at least.
sometimes it feels pathetic, like you're this captain of a team, you're supposed to be that figure that people look up to, but more often than not you feel the opposite. perhaps that's not the best way to say it, though. no, because when it comes to running stride and when it comes to being a good teammate, you're terrific. it's the lack of attention you give yourself, you always put other things, other people first, and it's easy to forget about yourself. and so saisei helps, all of them.
you remember multiple times that you pushed yourself too far.
and they were right there, peering down at you as you collapsed from exhaustion, scooping you up and carrying you off to find somewhere to sleep. an only child, your idea of what a family was came from the way you were raised and treated. conditioned to be a perfect little prince of a child, but...you're certain that the stride team at saisei is the family you'd choose 10 times out of 10.
your vice captain, and relationer:
your f a m i l y.
then tell me an old one.
but you already know how it ends.
(i wish i could forget how this one ends. i think i was happier not knowing.)
life was fairly simple, uncomplicated, until you caught a glimpse of black hair and vibrant blue eyes that pulled you in like a moth to a flame.
he's not like shizuma.
your vice-captain saw the honan teammates running towards you, one chasing after the other in a heated race, and he grabbed you to tug you away from the immediate danger of being ran into. he protected you, but you stared, wide eyed and curious, directly into unfamiliar blue eyes.
new member of honan academy's stride team. an anchor in the race, just like you. and you knew he'd be racing alongside you in no time. and you couldn't wait.
the saisei team are kind competitors, always have been. known mostly for your work as an idol, you remember how cocky the honan team seemed to be at your first race together. you didn't mind, you never minded, only smiled at takeru as he took his place next to you. he's even more antisocial than you are. at least you smile sweetly, you make conversation, you try to do things for your teammates in order to make them happy.
he is not like you.
and yet, at the same time he seems more confident in his feelings than you ever will. he commands his emotions in a way that you do not. he is not gentle and loving like shizuma is. you are mortified to admit that you wish you hadn't met takeru mainly because he's so much more. you remember racing alongside him, beating him by a mere .3 seconds or so, and you looked at him like he was the moon. shizuma is the sun, he will always be your sun, and it makes your heart flutter to have a moon as well.
you know you can't have him.
and you know that, while he makes your emotions conflicted and confused and your life would be easier without him in it, you can't help but be so happy he existed. and that he even gave you playful competition, started out standoffish with you until a training camp saisei has and invites honan to. it was just you and your team and all of honan's teammates, and you sat next to takeru and shizuma, smiling softly at both of them, trying not to let your inner food glutton come out too soon.
that didn't work, and the amount of times takeru saw you with sauce on your cheek is absolutely appalling.
riku is takeru's best friend, you think, on honan, and you admire his energy and devotion, and there's just so much about that stride team that makes you smile. they're nicer than some other teams. they don't play tricks, they don't manipulate, they're upfront and honest and spending time with them feels like you're making your family bigger.
the training camp is over as quickly as it begins, a week goes by so quickly--and you can't help but present your training partner and fellow anchor in the race, takeru, with a blue shirt that matches your own light pink one. that's been the whole week, honestly, each of you giving the other something, shizuma giving you something while you exchange it with something else back at him--
it's....probably the only time you'll ever feel like maybe, somehow, things could work out and you can be happy just being good friends with both of them. but you know it's unrealistic. you're not going to try.
a few weeks pass and its the end of summer semi-finals, honan and saisei are racing once more and you are standing back beside takeru, and all you want is him to do his best.
don't chicken out.
and he didn't. he didn't let you down. even as you heard shizuma from his spot as relationer yelling for you to pull through, you were in the lead until the very last second, and with a strange gust of adrenaline, you saw a flash of black hair fly past you and suddenly the horn went off, honan had beat saisei and you couldn't be upset about it. none of you could be upset.
because your family won. a second family, a second family who'd go off and win the finals, and you'd be cheering them on from the sidelines.
and it makes you happy enough.
once upon a time, there was a boy with fool’s gold for hair.
(and i couldn’t save him.)